On June 4, the state announced 12 winning research projects that will receive part of $3 million in nanobiotechnology research funding from the 2009 Maryland Nanobiotechnology Research and Industry Competition Grants. Jeff Bulte, an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology and professor of Radiology in the School of Medicine, received a one-time $230,000 to commercialize a promising therapy for type 1 diabetes.
Bulte and his postdoctoral fellow Dian Arifin are collaborating with the Baltimore-based company Surgivison Inc. on a project entitled Image-Guided Encapsulated Cell Therapy using Multimodal Nanoparticles. Bulte explains that the project aims to develop microcapsules that contain human islets, the insulin producing cluster of cells in the pancreas, which will be part of a cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. The microcapsules are engineered to protect the islets from attack by the immune system, which would normally treat them as foreign invaders. In addition, the transplanted islets microcapsules also have gadolinium-gold nanoparticles embedded in them so that they can be easily seen with non-invasive imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance, X-ray, computerized tomography, or ultrasound. [Read more…]