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NAnomechanical Screening of Pharmaceutical Entities (NASPE)
Start date: 01 Jan 2009, End date: 30 Jun 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Microcantilever (MC) biosensors are innovative and versatile micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Due to (nano)mechanical transduction of biochemical reactions they allow sensitive, label-free, direct, real-time and multiplexed detection of molecules as well as specific investigations of molecular interactions and conformational changes. NASPE aims at generating the pre-requisites and supporting the effort to establish MC biosensors as a competitive technology in the field of drug screening by integrating skills and know-how of SMEs and RTD performers which cover leading positions in the fields featured by the project. NASPE outcomes are expected to enable the SMEs to strengthen their position in the international market of drug discovery, to gain access to new market segments and to create new highly skilled jobs in Europe. On the other hand, NASPE research activities will contribute to address inherent fundamental issues of MEMS biosensors, including functionalization, manufacturing and novel applications. The primary aim of NASPE is structured into the following SMART objectives: - Functionalization protocols for silicon and plastic MCs, necessary for performing molecular recognition experiments by MCs. They will be accomplished by months 9 and 18, respectively, and tested on conventional fluorescent essays. - Proof-of-concept of nanomechanical drug screening by MCs, that is the necessary step for designing MC essays. Experiments for silicon and plastic MCs will be assessed and statistically validated by month 12 and month 21, respectively. - Prototype plastic MC arrays, that will be provided by month 15 and tested against commercial silicon MCs. Plastic MCs are expected to have lower cost and enhanced performances with respect to silicon MCs. - “Field” test of MC drug screening and design of drug discovery kits, that is the ultimate project objective. MC costs/benefits will be benchmarked against the commercially available drug discovery essays."
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