Upcoming events

September 2014


23rd September 2014:

Biomarker & Clinical Diagnostics - Showcase & networking event, Cardiff Hub. To find out more, Biomarkers & Clinical Diagnostics


24-26th September 2014:

BioSpain 2014,Santiago de Compostela, Spain - 7th International meeting on Biotechnology www.biospain2014.org

October 2014


7th October 2014:                

WCPC-Electronics & Displays. Find out more

15th October 2014:              

Business improvements through material characterisation @ CNH. Find out more


6th-8th October 2014:         

International Conference on Material Science & Engineering, San Antonio, USA.  Find out more

15th-16th October 2014:      

ETP NanoMedicine Annual Event, San Sebastian, Spain


November 2014


24-25th November 2014:      

Welsh Centre for Printing & Coating (WCPC) 10th Annual Technical Conference, Village Hotel, Swansea

Keynote speaker:  Prof Jong-Min Kim, Head of the Nano Science & Technology Research group at Oxford University and former Senior Vice President at Samsung Electronics Corporate R&D Centre, Korea.  Find out more


5-6th November 2014:           

Innovate UK, London www.innovateukevent.com

12-15th November 2014:      

Medica, Germany - Find us on the Welsh Pavilion Stand www.medica-tradefair.com 


December 2014


4th December 2014:          

UK Healthtech Conference, St David’s Hotel, Cardiff. Find us on Stand “M”. www.ukhealthtech.com

December 2014 (TBC):      

How to get antimicrobials into your products@ CNH. More details to follow soon.


Latest News for Centre for NanoHealth

CNH-Business event October 2014

'Business improvements through material characterisation-all your questions answered'

ILS2-CNH entrance

15th October - REGISTER HERE

As the importance of nanomaterials in technological applications increases, it is necessary to recognise the challenges associated with reproducible materials synthesis, maintaining desired materials properties during handling and processing, and the dynamic nature of nanomaterials, especially nanoparticles.

At the Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), the various methods used to classify and assess nanomaterials can give important information related to structure, electrical, chemical and optical properties. Moreover these tools can also be employed to study the integration of nanomaterials into bio-systems and sensors and to test aspects such as toxicology, specificity and reactivity. The CNH has made a significant investment into state of the art instruments that probe the micron to atomic size range to reveal the intimate interactions of atoms & molecules.

Led by the CNH and in collaboration with our world leading technology suppliers, this FREE event can help you address your business’ technological challenges all under one roof.

Highlights of the event include:

  • Find out about the latest developments in characterisation techniques from leading suppliers.
  • View demonstrations of the equipment and its capabilities:

Nanoprobe, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), Raman Spectroscopy, EDX, XPS, Rheometers, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (NMR)

  • Bring your samples for testing FREE OF CHARGE on our selected range of equipment.
  • “Quiz the Expert Panel”- Book a free private consultation with our panel of experts (made up of our suppliers and leading academics) to discuss any specific technical queries you may have.
  • Find out about collaborative opportunities and support programmes accessible to companies at Swansea University including student recruitment.
  • Great Networking opportunity

Who should attend? Anyone who needs:

  • Surface analysis for solid or liquid samples (up to the nanoscale)
  • Device characterisation
  • Improve product development, prototyping, performance and manufacturing
  • Support with technical issues, quality assessment, contamination & defect analysis
  • Process control and improvement

For more information please contact the team on 01792 606180 or email nanohealth@swansea.ac.uk

Research-Human Cells September 2014

New method to ‘barcode’ human cells will help identify and track cancer cells

'Barcode' Human Cells

Researchers at Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth in the College of Engineering have led an international collaboration to develop a new method to ‘barcode’ individual human cells. The method can be used to identify and track rare cell types, such as cancer cells, in large populations.

The team’s paper, entitled Nanoparticle Vesicle Encoding for Imaging and Tracking Cell Populations, was published in the leading life sciences journal Nature Methods on Sunday, September 14. Working in collaboration with colleagues from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), the Institute for Materials Research at Leeds University, and General Electric Healthcare in Cardiff, the team have found one of the key advantages of their method is the cells ‘choose’ their own barcode depending on their physical state and therefore cancer cell barcodes appear different from healthy cells when examined through high-throughput microscope imaging.

The paper’s lead author, Professor Paul Rees of Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said: “The ability to analyse collective behaviour within a cell population is crucial to the understanding of health and disease in the human body.

“However, the inability to accurately identify, track and measure thousands of single cells through using high-throughput microscope imaging has impeded dynamic studies of cell populations.

“We have demonstrated the unique method of labelling cells by colour-coding and generating a large number of unique digital codes, which enable us to immediately see a cell’s identity and allows us to track single human cells.”

The new method works because cells absorb nanoparticles as they take up nutrients from any surrounding fluid and then encapsulate them in a protective membrane, which means they do not alter the cells behaviour.

By introducing three different colours of nanoparticle to the cell population the colour pattern generated is unique enough to act as a barcode allowing researchers to distinguish each individual cell in a large population. Also as the number of nanoparticles in the cell does not change the same cell can be identified after much longer time periods than has previously been possible.As the number of nanoparticles that a cell takes up is dependent on the cell state this method allows the identification of mutated cells in a large population because the barcode of these cells will have a different pattern to healthy cells.

Dr Anne Carpenter, Head of the Imaging Platform at the Broad Institute, added: “There are many situations in which uniquely identifying and tracking individual cells within a popu­lation is desirable. Examples of this would be identification of a rare cell within a wider population, such as a stem cell or a cancer cell.”

This is a significant step in the development of tools to study the evolution of large cell populations. Looking ahead, this method will allow researchers to observe the progression of individual cells to a cancerous state or to study the evolution of stem cells into the cells which make up the human body.

The team’s work was funded through two grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), one of which is the International Collaboration Sabbatical scheme, which enabled Professor Rees to go on sabbatical to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (Boston), collaborators on the paper and where part of the research work was done. The University’s Centre for NanoHealth is also funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government.


Research-Psoriasis August 2014

A new Topical Hydrogel-Microsphere Patch for the Treatment of Psoriasis has been developed

Treatment for Psoriasis

An innovative drug-loaded hydrogel patch aims to treat Psoriasis, a dermatological condition, has been developed at Swansea University with the support from Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS).

Psoriasis is a major disease area with approximately 2% of the population in the UK suffering from the problem. Current treatments are usually topical cream or ointment formulations for mild to moderate types of Psoriasis. However, there are a number of unwanted side effects, such as skin irritation, stain on clothes and practical usage problems.

Mr. Alan Marsh, Director of P&S Nano, a SME based in Pembrokeshire believed that a hydrogel patch containing effective drugs for Psoriasis could overcome these problems. Unfortunately, mixing oil-based drugs with water-based hydrogel has technical difficulties. After approaching Dr. Zhidao Xia, a senior lecturer at the Centre for NanoHealth for technical support, the concept of loading the oil-based drug into microspheres (microsized polymer spheres) then mixing these with hydrogel was developed.

With the support from KESS, P&S Nano was able to recruit an MSc student, Miss Raha Rahbari to work on this feasibility project using the state-of-the-art facilities at the CNH. The objective of the project was to prove this concept and to develop a hydrogel patch containing drug-loaded microsphere to an industry standard, including the refinement of production, scale-up process, quality control, test drug-release profile, and assessment of toxicity in vitro.

The results were very promising, with the drug-loading rate being over 99% in the microspheres, and with a 28% drug release overnight on skin samples. In addition, research suggests that the drug-loaded microspheres are non-toxic to human cells, therefore they should be safe to use for human treatment.

These collaborative projects, supported by KESS and the European Social Fund (ESF), are mutually beneficial. P&S Nano Ltd, was able to access leading academic expertise, dedicated research student on the project and access to state-of-the-art facilities, whilst students gain invaluable experience in working with industry. In addition, a patent application was filed in August 2013 for the development of this new technique.

More importantly, as a result of this project, a follow on A4B (Academic for Business) grant was recently awarded from the Welsh Government, which will create two research jobs at Swansea University. This grant will enable the scale-up and preclinical assessment of a topical drug delivery product, in order to initiate a new pharmaceutical product.






Research-bowel cancer 30th July 2014

Nanotechnology research could improve tests for bowel cancer

30th July 2014

Tests for bowel cancer Bowel Cancer

A new research project could help improve diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer - the third most common cancer in the world - by looking at how nanotechnology could be used to screen patients, with a simple blood test replacing the current tests.

The project, which has just been awarded £100,000 of funding by Cancer Research Wales, is led by Dean Harris, Honorary Professor in Swansea University’s College of Medicine, a colorectal consultant at ABMU health board. He is working with Professor Peter Dunstan at Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), and a dedicated PhD research student funded by the project.

At CNH the research team will use nanotechnology, together with Raman spectroscopy, to detect cancer-related changes in patient samples. Advances made to the Raman technique will amplify the scattering of laser light from cells, chemicals and molecules, and create a unique ‘fingerprint’ that is predicted to be specific for colorectal cancer.

There is immense potential for patients to benefit from this research. Screening for colorectal cancer would be more acceptable and accessible. In time, the technique may help determine which types of chemotherapy will work for a particular patient, and recurrence could be detected earlier, transforming outcomes for this common cancer.

•Colorectal (bowel) cancer is the third commonest cancer worldwide. It remains a leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western World.

•Early diagnosis before symptoms develop, such as rectal bleeding or change in bowel habit, is vital for the best outcome.

•Current screening tests, such as colonoscopy or faecal blood detection kits, can be invasive, unpleasant and expensive.

Professor Dean Harris, project leader, who is honorary professor at the College of Medicine at Swansea University, and consultant colorectal surgeon at the city’s Singleton Hospital, said:

“I am delighted that Cancer Research Wales has chosen to fund this exciting collaboration between the Department of Colorectal Surgery and the Department of Physics through the Centre for NanoHealth at Swansea University. Our cutting edge project has the potential to change the way in which patients with bowel cancer are diagnosed, treated and followed up. We have attracted a very high calibre student for the project and look forward to sharing the results”.

Dr Lee Campbell, science projects and research communications manager at Cancer Research Wales, said:

“Early diagnosis is critical for the effective treatment of cancer. Cancer Research Wales is proud to work with Professor Harris, Professor Dunstan and the team at Swansea University who seek to develop new blood tests for potential use in the early detection of bowel cancer and the monitoring of treatment response in patients.

This pioneering project is very timely since early cancer diagnosis is a recognised priority area for cancer care in Wales and bowel cancer has recently become the most diagnosed cancer type”.


The Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) at Swansea University combines nanotechnology with medical science to provide opportunities to benefit patients, healthcare providers and the healthcare industry both across Wales and globally. The CNH offers access to over 50 academic staff from the Colleges of Medicine, Engineering and Science, Health Board (NHS) clinicians, and industry.

Cancer Research Wales was founded in 1966 by Dr Ken Davies. Since then we have raised many millions of pounds for research into the treatment and diagnosis of cancer; which has benefited people in Wales and all over the world.

Our aim is to reduce the impact of cancer on the people of Wales, through supporting world class cancer research and education. At Cancer Research Wales, our priority is to fund research that will give hope to those affected by cancer, and their families. http://www.cancerresearchwales.co.uk