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European Science Foundation warns nanomedicine benefits will be lost without major investment

Brussels December 15, The European Science Foundation today announced the conclusions of its wide-ranging Forward Look study on Nanomedicine, calling for a clear strategy and investment plan to ensure Europe does not miss out on the benefits. The report concludes that nanomedicine is about to deliver a healthcare paradigm shift in which it will be possible to monitor people on the basis of known genetic predispositions, diagnose disease before there are any symptoms, administer drugs that are precisely targeted, and use non invasive imaging tools to demonstrate that the treatment was effective. The ESF report notes that Europe is particularly strong in many areas of nanotechnology needed for advances in nanomedicine and that several European companies are at the cutting-edge of research in this area. Another positive note is that funding in Europe for nanotechnology research is rapidly growing. However, the report also warns that Europes ability to lead and benefit will be compromised unless a series of key recommendations are followed.

A nanometre is defined as a billionth of a metre - 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Nanomedicine uses nano-sized tools for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and to gain deeper understanding of complex causal factors.

The ESF Forward Look study on Nanomedicine was a two-year-long study begun in late 2003 and completed in November 2005 following the realisation that nanomedicine defined as using nano miniaturised molecular tools and molecular level knowledge of the human body to diagnose and treat disease was becoming a reality. This mirrors a similar pattern in the electronics and materials sector. Gathering the leading European experts in the field from across academia and industry, the study set out to define the field, discuss the future impact on healthcare and society, assess the current situation and Europes strengths and weaknesses, deliver recommendations on future resear
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Contact: Victoria Gill
vgill@esf.org
33-388-767-714
European Science Foundation
6-Dec-2005


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