NanoSight to supply instrumentation for Oxford University cellular nanoparticle study

NanoSight, a UK manufacturer of nanoparticle characterisation technology, is involved in the development new instrumentation and methodologies aimed at measuring cellular nanoparticles in plasma and urine as biomarkers of a broad range of human diseases.

NanoSight is supplying instrumentation to the University of Oxford team

NanoSight, a UK manufacturer of nanoparticle characterisation technology, is involved in the development new instrumentation and methodologies aimed at measuring cellular nanoparticles in plasma and urine as biomarkers of a broad range of human diseases.

A team from the University of Oxford, which has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Technology Development Grant to work on the detection and characterisation of nanoparticles in the early detection of human disease, is leading the research.

Heading the team is Professor Ian Sargent at the Women's Centre of the John Radcliffe Hospital and part of the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. Professor Chris Redman (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Dr Paul Harrison (Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre), Professor Adrian Harris (Cancer Research UK) and Professor Peter Dobson (Begbroke Science Park) make up the rest of the team. Other collaborators include Dr Leanne Hodson and Dr Frederick Karpe of the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The project involves the detection in the bloodstream of tiny fragments of cells, microparticles (100nm-1µm) and exosomes (30nm-100nm), which are important for how cells communicate with each other. The numbers of these particles have been found to be significantly raised in the blood of patients with heart disease, diabetes, pre-eclampsia, clotting problems and cancer, raising the possibility that measuring these particles in blood could be used to predict those at risk. However, their detection and size distribution measurement pose considerable challenges.

The Oxford team discussed their requirements with NanoSight's scientists and, following very promising initial results, were awarded £322,000 of Wellcome Trust funding in support of this three-year project.

A novel fluorescence variant of NanoSight's existing instrumentation will be developed by NanoSight with the Oxford scientists to enable these micro- and nanoparticles to be detected and characterised in plasma and urine samples for the first time.

Only five Wellcome Trust Technology Development awards were made worldwide in 2007-8 and only one in the year 2006-7.

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