Conference: Small solutions with big promise

An artist's impression of a nano-bot (Credit: Christian Darkin, gettyimages)
Monday, 24 June, 2013

The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at UNSW will host a gathering next week of world-leading experts in nanotechnology and nanomedicine.

The fourth International Nanomedicine Conference will be held from 1 – 3 July in Sydney to highlight research into new drugs, targeted drug delivery systems, diagnostics and imaging, and regenerative medicine.

The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine is an interdisciplinary research centre comprising UNSW scientists, engineers and clinicians who are working together to develop new treatments that could deliver a mighty blow in the fight against currently incurable diseases, including a range of chemo-resistant cancers. 

Nanomedicine involves the development of new treatment and detection strategies in medicine that arise from nanotechnology, such as the synthesis of nano-sized particles that have been engineered to perform a very specific function inside the body.

One nanometre is equivalent to one-billionth of a metre and is roughly 60,000 times thinner than a human hair. A single strand of DNA is just three nanometres wide.

At this sub-microscopic scale, materials sometimes exhibit curious physical, chemical and biological properties. These can be exploited to create particles that release drugs in a highly controlled way or to develop sensors that can provide early detection of disease.

The fourth International Nanomedicine Conference will be held from 1 – 3 July in Sydney.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Heather Maynard, Director of the Chemistry Biology Interface Training Program at UCLA
  • John Mattick, Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney
  • Scott McNeil, Director of the Nanotechnology Characterization Lab in Maryland, US

Things to watch from the Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at UNSW:

Researchers have begun work on a new drug that will target chemo-resistant pancreatic cancer. The objective is to break down and halt the spread of the cancer cells, and to simultaneously “switch off” genes associated with its development. Professor Maria Kavallaris, Co-Director of the Centre, says there are certainly “future applications across a range of cancers”.

  • Phoebe Phillips from UNSW Medicine will speak about this work

UNSW researchers have teamed up with Sydney-based biotech company Benitec Biopharma to develop a “gene silencing” technology that has been shown in preclinical models to dramatically improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in lung cancer.

  • Michael Graham, Chief Scientist at Benitec Biopharma, will speak about this work and how the company’s unique gene silencing approach can target other diseases such as hepatitis C.

Event Details:

  • What: 4th Annual International Nanomedicine Conference
  • Where: Intercontinental Hotel, 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney CBD
  • When: 1-3 July 2013
  • Register online and see the full list of speakers at:

Media contacts:

Myles Gough, UNSW Media Office | 0420 652 825

Carla Gerbo, Conference Organiser | 0419 160 266

UNSW Science: Deborah Smith, 9385 7307, 0478 492 060,