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A public lecture held in a Lafayette brewhouse used simple language with multiple analogies to explain the science of nanomedicine.
Thursday, as part of the monthly "Science on Tap" lecture series at the Lafayette Brewing Company, James Leary, professor of biomedical engineering, addressed what kind of impact nanotechnology will have on health care.
"Nanotechnology is atom by atom assembly and we are concerned with how to make these structures deliver medical treatment," Leary said. "We can give (10 or 100 times) less of a drug using targeted delivery with nanomedicine.
Leary covered a variety of topics relating to nanomedicine including medicines designed to target afflicted areas and nowhere else in the body, treatment that does not use the immune system, creating methods for early cell death for viruses, and finding indicators for personalized medicine.
To illustrate his points, Leary used a variety of methods. He talked about an experimental breast cancer treatment using magnetic fields that increased drug efficiency approximately from 1 percent to 50 percent. He used color diagrams of hypothetical layered drugs that are programmed for a very specific task. He also discussed how cosmetics that contain nanoparticles to fill in gaps on the face may have unintended consequences when absorbed into the body.
Lafayette resident Pam Peebles has attended the lectures for several months and said she enjoyed the way complex topics were presented in a brief and easily comprehensible manner.
"(The presentation) was just so diverse," Peebles said. "There were parts where he lost me but the way he described it ... really helped me understand what was happening."
Leary said he has given presentations like this for over ten years and feels it is his responsibility to relay what he does to non-scientists.
"I want to make what I do relevant to the public because people need to have a basis of knowledge about ... this type of medicine," Leary said.
Additional information about research about Leary's work and other nanotechnology discoveries can be found as www.nanohub.org.
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