Callerio Foundation
NEWS - Padova, October 26-28 2012

Workshop on PharmacoBioMetallics BIOMET 12


The twelfth Workshop on PharmacoBioMetallics BIOMET 12 took place in Padua on October 26-28th. This annual meeting, organized by the Consorzio Interuniversitario di Ricerca in Chimica dei Metalli nei Sistemi Biologici (C.I.R.C.M.S.B.) among 21 italian Universities, has the aim to discuss the role of metal-based compounds in biological systems. Due to its scientific tradition of investigating metal-based compounds as antitumour agents, Callerio Foundation had an active participation to this meeting with two contribution respectively on the development of the studies to replace animals in the preclinical testing of active principles and with a critical analysis of the state-of-the-art in the development of antitumour drugs based on the Ruthenium center.

The research projects presented at Biomet12 covered different fields:
- Innovative diagnostics in oncology and cardiovascular diseases
- Metalloproteins as biological catalizators
- Biomineralization and biocristallography
- Biosensors
- New metal-based drugs in oncology
- Metal ions and degenerative chronic pathologies

Great attention was given to gold-based compounds widely studied for diverse biomedical applications, from the detection of protein/DNA interactions to drug nanodelivery systems and to cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. Actually the interest upon this metal focused on the chance to conjugate gold derivatives with oligopeptides as antitumor agents without in vivo toxicity, unlike Platinum-based drugs.
The role of biometals (copper and zinc) in neurological diseases, such as Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease, was also discussed as crucial players in neurotrasmission and neuromodulation. Interestingly, these metals were shown to be able to interact with proteins involved in the development and survival of neurons, acting as neurotrophins and modulating their activity in pathological conditions.
Nanocrystalline calcium phosphate scaffolds were also discussed as innovative biomaterials to imitate bone mineral and to provide a temporary biocompatible template for the growth of the target tissues.
On Saturday 27th an intriguing Plenary Lecture was given by Professor Wolfgang J. Parak, Full Professor for Experimental Physics at the Philipps-University of Marburg (Germany) and Associate Editor for ACS Nano from the American Chemical Society.

Professor Parak discussed his recent findings on colloidal nanoparticles: the emerging new materials with potential usefulness in many different areas from electronics (HYPERLINK ""solar cells, LEDs) to life sciences (fluorescence labels). Today, colloidal nanoparticles can be made out of a huge variety of materials and the current synthetic routes allow for the tailoring of their size, shape, and also for combining different particles to form hybrids; but unfortunately the need to use organic solvent for their synthesis gives hydrophobic particles and thus cannot be easily used for most applications in the life sciences.

 Together with Liberato Manna, his collegue at University of California,Berkeley, and now Leader of the Nanochemistry Division National Nanotechnology Lab of CNR-INFM in Italy, Parak developed a polymer coating procedure that overcomes this problem: the addition of an amphiphilic polymer leads to the water-solubility of the particles. This is nowadays used to produce several types of nanocrystals, ranging from fluorescence quantum dots up to magnetic nanoparticles allowing diverse applications in the Life Sciences.
That was most impressive of this Workshop is the attitude to join different scientific fields such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology leaving chance to young researchers and scientist to face each others.

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