There’s a very intriguing nanomedicine project in Tel Aviv, Israel. Called Nanomedicines for Personalized Theranostics, the project combines diagnostics and therapeutics for a personalized medical experience. From the Oct. 19, 2012 news item on Nanowerk (Note: I have removed a link),
Tel Aviv University [TAU] has been appointed by the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) to lead a consortium on “Nanomedicines for Personalized Theranostics”, a combined system of diagnostics and therapeutic treatments. This consortium of 11 laboratories will be dedicated to developing nano-sized drug delivery systems for the detection and treatment of various diseases. Eight of the labs are TAU-led, with additional participation from Hebrew University Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University and Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
The ultimate goal is to design a new class of drugs that can destroy faulty proteins in angiogenesis-dependent diseases that involve the growth of new blood vessels from existing vessels — including cancer, infectious diseases and heart diseases — and deliver these drugs safely into the body. Beyond the academic realm, the group aims to create spin-off companies based on licensed technologies they develop, creating the basis for a thriving biotechnology industry within Israel.
The news item provides some insight into the situation in Israel,
Although considered a beacon of research and development, the field of biotechnology in Israel has suffered drawbacks, both in academia and industry. Higher salaries lure the best minds abroad, and international companies have more private capital with which to sustain businesses.
“Israel has amazing intellectual resources, but we are constantly combating budget constraints. With this project, the idea is to create future technologies built on Israeli creativity that also allow us to bring in the brightest people and better funding,” says Prof. Peer [Scientific Director Prof. Dan Peer]. While many great biotechnology ideas were born in Israel, the economic situation stymied the establishment of many more successful companies within the country, he observes. “We want to maintain the advantages that we have in the life sciences while boosting this lagging industry. Our research as part of the FTA [the Focal Technology Area within the INNI] will be a starting engine.”
Prof. Peer hopes that in two years, researchers will be able to start translating their research into practical applications.
The INNI is also working to combat “brain drain” in the academic world by giving TAU and other institutions the means to attract outstanding young researchers back home to Israel, both with funding and with the prestige of the project.
Is there a country in the world that isn’t concerned about ‘brain drain’?