Table of Contents
Ferrari Addresses President's Council on Bioethics
Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., director of the Research Center for NanoMedicine at The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM), a part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, discussed nanotechnology and nanomedicine before a meeting of the President's Council on Bioethics.
At a special session on nanotechnology June 29, in Washington, D.C., Ferrari and Andrew Maynard, Ph.D., chief science advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, presented the exciting possibilities that these technologies - so small they're measured billionths of a meter - present, as well as potential risks and ethical implications.
One of today's hottest areas of scientific research is nanomedicine. Scientists currently are working to create novel nanostructures that can serve as new kinds of drugs for treating cancer, Parkinson's, and cardiovascular disease. They also are seeking ways to engineer nanomaterials for use as artificial tissues that could replace diseased kidneys and livers, and even repair nerve damage.
In addition, although the research is still exploratory, scientists are beginning to build nanostructures that mimic complex biomolecules. Some of these engineered structures appear to have regenerative powers that could potentially lead to therapies for conditions such as Alzheimer's, nerve injury and brain damage from stroke.
In a recent study by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Houston tied with Austin and Denver as seventh in the nation among areas with the highest concentration of nanotechnology companies, universities, research laboratories and other organizations.
In addition to his IMM duties, Ferrari serves as president of the Alliance for NanoHealth, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the UT Health Science Center at Houston, faculty member at the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, professor of bioengineering at Rice University, and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the UT Medical Branch at Galveston.