A specially designed vessel is released into the bloodstream to combat a blood clot, its mission to repair the damage and exit the body without harming any of the other organs and systems.
That’s the plot of the 1966 movie “Fantastic Voyage,” which won Oscars and amazed audiences with its incredible futuristic vision of medicine.
It’s unlikely that a team of physicians will be miniaturized and injected into patients’ bodies. But the nearly 100 scientists, engineers and physicians who came to Miami on Feb. 18 for FIU’s First Personalized Nanomedicine Symposium demonstrated that “Fantastic Voyage”-like patient treatment is not just far-fetched science fiction anymore.
Presented by the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s (COM) Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology (INIP) and Center for Personalized Nanomedicine (CPNM), the day long Nanomedicine Symposium featured four sessions focusing on Nanomaterials and Nanodevices; Nanoengineering and Single Molecule Imaging; Nanoengineering for Personalized Medicine, and New Engineering for Personalized Diagnostics/Treatments. During each session, four speakers covered topics ranging from treatment of inflammatory arthritis to nanobioelectronics. The event wrapped up with a panel discussion led by Robert Haddon from the University of California, Riverside, Christopher Weis and Jag Khalsa of the National Institutes of Health.
Madhavan Nair and Sakhrat Khizroev, both professors in COM’s Department of Immunology, created the event to introduce individualized treatment paradigms for the diagnosis and treatments. Symposium attendees were able to hear directly from leading researchers in the field as well as from the NIH agency officials who are interested in supporting—and funding—nanomedicine efforts. This is work that “benefits from collaborative research including basic scientists, physicians, hardware engineers and clinicians,” said keynote speaker Belinda Soto, deputy director in the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. “I would be hard-pressed to come up with support for a project that is not interdisciplinary.”
Working together to advance the nanomedicine may well have been the message of the day. “Engineered nanomaterials are really the way of the future and biology and medicine should not be left behind,” said Haddon.
Nair is hopeful that experts in the field will continue to learn about advances through FIU. “We were very pleased with our first symposium,” he says. “The attendees and the panelists learned a lot about the science, possibilities and new frontiers of nanomedicine and we look forward to making this an annual occurrence at FIU.”