University of Queensland (UQ) researchers are hoping to revolutionise the way
cancer and diseases are detected.
Professor Matt Trau, Director of UQ's Centre for
Nanotechnology and Biomaterials, is heading up an
international project that aims to investigate and
test a set of unique, Australian-owned nanotechnologies
that will accelerate advances in the early detection
and diagnosis of many diseases.
"By testing and developing these nanotechnology
platforms we hope to produce tools to give people
an early warning that they have a serious disease." Professor
"That early warning could mean the difference of
getting medical intervention at a time when it is
easy to administer and highly effective, or facing
the prospect of massive and debilitating intervention
when the disease has taken hold.
"There are currently few tools available for early
diagnosis at the molecular level.
"And those that are available are difficult to use
and cover only a small fraction of known diseases.
Nanotechnology offers the possibility to create
devices which can screen for disease biomarkers at
very fast rates.
The tools will be developed by identifying biomarkers
for particular diseases that can then lead to diagnostic
"Once biomarkers are found, we can assess them for
clinical use," he said.
"Potentially hundreds of biomarkers could be found,
paving the way for the development of many new diagnostic
He said apart from the potential medical benefits,
by developing the technologies in Queensland this
research provides a tremendous opportunity for commercial
"And success in this can also be expected to reduce
the economic and social costs of disease," Professor
This research draws together the expertise of a
team of outstanding researchers from the Australian
Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at
The University of Queensland, the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Centre (USA), the University of Washington
(USA) and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
This project is supported by a contribution of $2
million from the Queensland State Government through
the National and International Research Alliances
Program. In addition to Alliances funding, the project
will receive support from the participating institutes
and UQ spin-off company Nanomics Biosystems Pty Ltd.
UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor David
Siddle, said the awarding of Smart State funding
represented recognition of the importance of establishing
international collaborations in this area to enable
continuing excellence in biological research and
"This project addresses a critical gap in the process
of early diagnosis, that is, the lack of effective
tools for diagnosing disease at the molecular level," Professor
Media inquiries: Professor Matt Trau (+61 7 3365
3816) or Andrew Dunne at UQ Office of Marketing and
Communications (+61 7 3365 2802).