Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The ETP Nanomedicine Initiative

The ETP Nanomedicine, an initiative led by industry and set up together with the European Commission is addressing the application of nanotechnology to achieve breakthroughs in healthcare.

Nanomedicine exploits the improved and often novel physical, chemical and biological properties of materials at the nanometer scale. Nanomedicine has the potential to enable early detection and prevention, and to essentially improve diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of diseases.
The ETP supports its members in coordinating their joint research efforts and improving communication amongst the members as well as towards the European Commission and the European Member States.
Further readings:

Objectives / Mission
Mankind is still fighting against a high number of serious and complex illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes as well as different kinds of serious inflammatory or infectious diseases (e.g. HIV). Most of theses diseases have a tremendous negative impact not only on the patient himself but also on the whole society and linked social and insurance systems. It is of utmost importance to face these plagues with appropriate means.
Nanomedicine, the application of nanotechnology to health, raises high expectations for millions of patients for better, more efficient and affordable healthcare and has the potential of delivering promising solutions to many illnesses. Research in nanomedicine will allow for a better understanding of the functioning of the human body at molecular and nanometric level and it will thus give us the possibility to intervene better at pre-symptomatic, acute or chronic stage of illnesses.
Several areas of medical care are already benefiting from the advantages that nanotechnology can offer. The first nanotechnology-based targeted drug delivery systems are already on the market, others are in clinical trials or, by far the largest part, are under development. Another highly attractive area of nanomedicine is diagnostics at nanoscale. The aim is to identify a disease at the earliest possible stage. Ideally already a single cell with ill behaviour would be detected and cured or eliminated. New concepts for regenerative medicine give hope to many patients with organ failure or severe injuries. Already today artificial skin, bone and cartilage are in an advanced stage of development and partly already on the market.
The promising possibilities that nanomedicine might offer in the future have to be counterweighted against possible risks of this new technology. It is of utmost importance to examine upfront with care and responsibility its possible side effects to human beings and the environment. Several European projects are already dealing with this highly important issue. Also ethical concerns have to be taken into account. It may also be necessary to examine existing legislation for its applicability to nanomedicine.
Industry has increasing interest in stepping into the area of nanomedicine and the expected market share of final products is expected to be significant. In addition to the improved quality of health care, the creation of new jobs can be expected.
An important initiative, led by industry, has been set up together with the European Commission. A group of 53 European stakeholders, composed of industrial and academic experts, established in 2005 a European Technology Platform on Nanomedicine. The first task of this high level group was to write a vision document for this highly future-oriented area of nanotechnology-based healthcare in which experts describe an extrapolation of needs and possibilities until 2020. Beginning of 2006 this Platform has been opened to a wider participation (July 2013: 120 member organisations) and has delivered a number of strategic documents showing a well elaborated common European way of working together for the healthcare of the future trying to match the high expectations that nanomedicine has raised so far.
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