Company touts dendrimers for drug delivery, biowarfare sensors

from the (world-authority-on-nanotech?) dept.
A rather breathless article in the Australian Daily Telegraph ("AIDS cure closer: expert", 4 February 2002) describes a visit to Australia by Professor Donald Tomalia, whom the article describes as "the world authority on nanotechnology", to trumpet work by Dendritic Nanotechnologies Ltd, the joint-venture of Melbourne-based pharmaceutical company Starpharma and Brisbane-based diagnostic firm Panbio. Tomalia is a leading researcher in the field of starburst dendrimers, a type of complex, tree-like spherical branching polymer molecules, at Central Michigan University in the United States. Dendritic Nanotech was formed in August 2001 to develop products using "dendrimer nanotechnology"

Australia would pioneer the application to humans of the synthetic molecular structures to prevent and cure diseases such as STDs, malaria and Hepatitis B, Prof Tomalia told reporters in Sydney. According to the article, dendrimers were being touted by Dendritic Nanotechnologies as having implications for anything from preventing tumour growth to curing AIDS to detecting biological warfare.

Dr John Raff, CEO of Starpharma, said the Australian federal government had committed A$6 million to the company's research. He said the Australian army was embracing nanotechnology, following in the footsteps of the U.S., which was equipping its army with detection devices against germ warfare. "The opportunities of broadscale protections against a range of respiratory viruses is enormous," he said. "The US army has made a very serious commitment to the nano area. The army intends to give every foot soldier out there devices to detect biological threats. That is now a reality. Australia is just now coming into this very exciting area," he said.

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