Manchester University has been awarded over £5m to investigate the use of nanomaterials including graphene in the human body.
The £5.2m EPSRC grant will fund a project to explore how two-dimensional materials can improve major health challenges, such as cancer, diabetes and dementia.
The announcement was made today by Jo Johnson, minister of state for universities and science, as part of £17.7m for new healthcare technologies research to address the health issues of an aging UK population.
According to the University, potential areas of benefit using graphene and other 2D materials could include targeted drug delivery systems to attack cancer cells while leaving other cells unharmed, remote electrical stimulation of nerves affected by neurodegenerative and other diseases, such as diabetes, plus smart dressings for burns and wounds.
As well as four major healthcare partners and two graphene SMEs, the 2D-Health project involves laboratories from across University spanning physics, chemistry, pharmacy and medicine.
Similarly, the University’s Nanomedicine Lab brings together bioengineering, pharmacology and nanotechnology and their translation to advanced, clinically-relevant therapeutics and diagnostics.
Prof Kostas Kostarelos, head of the Nanomedicine Lab said: “We are delighted both with the decision by the EPSRC to fund our ambitious research programme, and the pharmaceutical industry support that has enthusiastically embraced 2D material technologies as particularly promising.
“We are all looking forward to developing a thorough and systematic understanding of the true capabilities graphene and 2D materials offer in solving current clinical challenges, and maintain Manchester and the UK at the forefront of this dynamic and highly competitive field.’
Other projects to benefit from today’s £17.7m funding announcement include a Leeds University led project to develop novel testing methods for new knee therapies, and research at Glasgow University into the development of more effective methods for the use of growth factor molecules in regenerative medicine. Imperial College London will conduct research that is expected to pave the way for a fundamentally different approach in which cardiovascular diseases are diagnosed, monitored and treated.