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Posted 11.24.06


MU Breaks Ground on $10 million Nanomedical Institute

$10 Million Building Will House Scientists Studying Radiology, Hematology and Oncology

COLUMBIA, MO - Size does matter, but in this case, the smaller the better. With the groundbreaking of the new University of Missouri-Columbia International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine, MU scientists will soon be using nanoparticles, or materials that are 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, to unlock secrets to some very large problems.

"This is a new era of medicine - for the University and the world," said Senator Kit Bond. "The Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine is another step in enhancing the world-renowned research taking place on this campus."

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The building, which will cost approximately $10 million, is slated to open at the end of 2007. It will serve as a base of operation for uniting a variety of MU researchers and resources. Fred Hawthorne, professor of radiology, will lead the research teams at the institute. With the addition of the building, Mizzou will be the only university in the country with this type of research facility in addition to a research reactor, a medical school, a veterinary school, an engineering school and a life sciences center.

"I still marvel at what I found at the University of Missouri-Columbia that I have never encountered anywhere else in the world," Hawthorne said. "The campus literally has everything, including sincere people who are interested in collaborating with me. I realized Mizzou would be a place where I could fulfill my life's work, which is to find a new route for attacking cancer in a definitive way."

Hawthorne is studying how compounds of the element boron might be used in cancer diagnosis and therapy including nuclear reactions. Hawthorne is striving to create a new cancer therapy based upon the nuclear reaction of boron atoms present in tumor-containing nanoparticles with neutrons from the MU Research Reactor (MURR). Other research that will take place in the 26,000 square foot building will include pharmacology, immunochemistry and medical imaging of all types.

The building will be built adjacent to the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center and across the street from MURR. In addition, the building is adjacent to the proposed site for the Life Science Business Incubator.

"MU's record of the fastest growth in federal research funding among all public institutions in the Association of American Universities over the past 10 years is evidence of our highly competitive role in the national scientific arena," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "The institute will further enhance our level of participation."

"This is an exciting investment in nanomedicine and an exciting time to be a scientist at Mizzou," said Jim Coleman, vice chancellor for research. "We are combining many of our strengths on this campus to help fight some of the deadliest diseases in recent history. MU is unique in its ability to bring together so many different scientists from so many different fields. We hope this investment will bring about not only many new scientific collaborations, but also new technology that will bring hope for cancer patients and new discoveries that will improve the quality of life for all Missourians."

The National Science Foundation estimates that the global nanotechnology market will be worth $1 trillion by 2015. Last year, the U.S. government allocated more than $1 billion to nanotechnology research.



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