LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced Monday the creation of the Arkansas Nanomedicine Center in the school's College of Medicine.

LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced Monday the creation of the Arkansas Nanomedicine Center in the school’s College of Medicine.

Nanomedicine, an offshoot of nanotechnology, refers to highly specific medical research and applications at the molecular scale for curing disease or repairing damaged tissues.

“Over the past few years, more and more of our researchers and clinicians have been exploring applications for nanomedicine,” Dr. Debra H. Fiser, dean of the UAMS College of Medicine, said in a news release. “In an institution as large as ours, an extraordinary amount of knowledge, experience and resources is spread across many laboratories and departments, not to mention our partnering institutions,” Fiser said. “The key is to bring people together, so that new discoveries can be translated into better medical care more efficiently and effectively.”

To coordinate efforts, UAMS is creating a Nanomedicine Magnet Group to share and disperse research efforts within the nanomedicine community.

“We recently counted at least 35 faculty members who are actively working on or are interested in nanomedicine projects. They represent at least 13 College of Medicine departments alone,” Fiser said.

Some research efforts are under way to treat cancer, infections, cardiovascular diseases and drug addiction treatment. The new center will also focus on finding federal and philanthropic funding for nanomedicine initiatives, she said.

Vladimir Zharov, Ph.D., director of the Phillips Classic Laser and Nanomedicine Laboratories and professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine, will serve as the director of the ANC.

Fiser said the new center’s ultimate goal is to “connect the dots” across the health care spectrum to support and advance nanomedicine to tackle medical disorders from multiple angles.

“One critical point is research to better understand the basic mechanisms of many diseases,” she said.

“Teams also will search for potential new diagnosis and treatment methods employing nanomedicine, and then work to evaluate them in clinical trials. “Their findings will ultimately help our physicians and clinical care teams deliver better care.”