Second annual Johns Hopkins NanoBio Symposium to focus on cancer

An estimated 600 experts on nanobiotechnology-a science that develops tools and machinery at the scale of one-billionth of a meter-are expected to attend the second annual Johns Hopkins NanoBio Symposium, May 1-2, 2008.

Hosted by the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) the event will focus this year on 'Nanotechnology for Cancer,' and feature a May 1 workshop, co-hosted by the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

The workshop, to be in the Owens Auditorium, 1650 Orleans St., from 2-5 p.m. offers presentations and discussions with several Johns Hopkins nanobiotechnology experts on promising new tools for the study and management of cancer.

"Advances in nanotechnology coupled with our increasing understanding of cancer make it a uniquely exciting time for both disciplines," says Kenneth Kinzler, professor of oncology in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and INBT executive committee member.

A symposium May 2 in the School of Medicine's Turner Auditorium will feature talks from internationally recognized nanobiotechnology experts, including Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., professor or vascular biology from the Harvard Medical School; Andrew D. Maynard, Ph.D., chief science advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Paras N. Prasad, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics, and Biophotonics at the University at Buffalo; Jeffery A. Schloss, Ph.D., from the National Human Genome Research Institute; and Jennifer L. West, Ph.D., professor of bioengineering at Rice University.

"Nanoscale technologies are already available to potentially solve a variety of problems in health care and medicine," says Peter Searson, INBT director and professor of materials science and engineering at the Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering.

For example, one Hopkins group has been working on a coated nanoparticle that can slip past the body's protective mucous barrier to deliver targeted drugs more effectively. Another group has developed a polymer coated 'nanocurcumin', a nano-scale version of a therapeutic substance derived from spice; doses of the beneficial substance are more likely to reach their disease target when in the smaller, encapsulated form. And nanoparticles called quantum dots, allow radiologists to produce multicolor images that can not only locate diseased tissue in a live animal, but provide details on inflammation, protein concentrations, enzyme activities and much more.

Friday's session concludes with an afternoon poster session from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the Turner Concourse, describing research conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and by government and industry scientists.

"This is a terrific opportunity for those engaged in nanobiotechnology related research in an academic or commercial setting to showcase their research together at one of the leading medical institutions in the world," says Denis Wirtz, associate director of INBT and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering.

Registration and guidelines for poster submission are available at The deadline for general registration without a poster is April 24, 2008.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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