Israeli team chosen to lead EU nanotech project

Israeli researchers have been chosen to lead a European Union project to develop nanoparticles capable of tracking the effects of cell injection therapies.

The nTRACK project, which is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme, will launch on October 16.

Dozens of research groups competed for the EU grant to lead the project, but the winning proposal came from a group led by Prof. Rachela Popovtzer of Bar-Ilan University. Popovtzer has spent the last decade developing nanoparticles for medical use.

Cell therapy involves injecting either stem cells or other types of cells, such as modified immune-system cells, into patients to heal tissue or treat a disease. Some such therapies are already in use, but many are still in the experimental stages.

The project’s goal is to develop a tracking nanoparticle that will be ready for clinical testing on human beings within four years. The nanoparticle will track the injected cells to see where they go in the body and what effects they produce, thereby enabling researchers to determine how successful the therapy is.

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