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The Cutting Edge

Small Science, Big Goals

MATTEL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL UCLA has launched a program in nanopediatrics to explore the future of personalized medicine for children. The program is among the first dedicated solely to nanomedicine and pediatric patients.

“Children are not small adults. Unless children are included as a research priority for the application of nanotechnology, then we will simply be applying approaches developed for adults,” says Edward R.B. McCabe, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and founding director of the new program, which will partner with the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. “This flawed strategy will place children at risk, as opposed to a program in which children will be the focus from the outset.”

Nanotechnology involves manipulating atoms and molecules to create tiny devices, smaller than one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. It is anticipated that nanomedicine, fueled by nanotechnology, will enable more-personalized medical care that will be both predictive and preventive.

While considerable attention has been paid to nanomedicine, the Mattel UCLA NanoPediatrics Program, created with a $1.8- million gift from the Mattel Children’s Foundation, may be the first initiative to examine the promises and risks of nanodiagnostics and nanotherapeutics for children in a formal and organized manner.

Projects currently underway at UCLA include the development and application of nanodiagnostic tools such as DNA-based newborn-screening tests for genetic abnormalities, the development of a new generation of nanodevices for the treatment of children with genetic diseases and cancer, and the investigation of the use of nanoparticles for diagnostic imaging both during pregnancy and after birth.

For additional information, visit  www.nanopediatrics.ucla.edu

 





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