Nanotechnology is the study and control of phenomena and matter on an atomic and molecular scale. In these dimensions, the properties of the particles behave significantly differently than on a larger scale. The application of nanotechnology to health, nanomedicine, is one of the scientific areas with the highest growth potential, both at social and economic level.
The development of gene release systems represents a great challenge for the scientific community. At present, viral and non-viral vectors are the focuses that are employed the most for the delivery of genetic material to the retina. Animal retinal degeneration models enable us to study the pathogenesis of these diseases in greater depth and explore nanoparticle-based technologies. Although subretinal administration is principally capable of transfecting photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells, intravitreal injection generally produces a more uniform distribution of nanoparticles through the interior layers of the retina.
The B·Debate, Fighting Blindness. Future Challenges and Opportunities for Visual Restoration, will devote a session to nanotechnology in order to cover, among other topics, the facilitating properties of non-viral vectors for the safe, efficient delivery of genetic material to the retina. Focuses like these will contribute to the development of tools for medicine and, therefore, for nanomedicine.
The session will be moderated by José Luís Pedraz (Universidad del País Vasco) with Joan Parra (Leitat Foundation) and will include addresses by Gustavo Puras (Universidad del País Vasco), Gema Martínez Navarrete (Universidad Miguel Hernández) and Víctor Puntes (the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICN2), among others.
Image courtesy of Dr. Gema Martínez-Navarrete