Welcome to the
Nanomedicine Research Lab of CLINAM

What is Nanomedicine?

Nanomedicine: The use of nano-scale science for the benefit of the patient. This field has a high grade of interdisciplinarity, because a successful application of nanotechnology to medicine is only feasible when physicists, chemists, physicians and other specialists work together for the benefit of the project.

Nanomedicine is a young discipline, but will introduce many revolutionary diagnostic and therapeutic tools to medicine in the next years. Nanostructures used in nanomedicine have a typical size of 100-200 nm (1 nanometer = 0.001 micrometer = 0.000001 millimeter = 0.000000001 meter) and cannot be seen by eye or even light microscopy. Only with an electron microscope or more specialized devices such as the scanning tunneling microscope or the atomic force microscope it is possible to visualize nanometer-sized structures.

What are Nanomedicine researchers trying to develop?

All over the world, research groups are currently engaged in various nanomedical projects.

In the past years many different nanostructures, such as nanotubes, fullerenes, quantum dots, nanofibers, nanobeads, micelles, liposomes or nanocontainers, were developed by physicists and chemists for different purposes. Nanomedicine tries to use some of these nanostructures (also called nanoparticles) for diagnostic or therapeutic applications in all fields of medicine.

CLINAM has a small brochure on the question what belongs to Nanomedicine:

Download this Brochure » ENGLISH » GERMAN

Towards personalized medicine

In the coming decades, medicine will experience a transformation in the direction of personalized diagnosis and treatment, taking the individual aspects of the patient and his/her disease into consideration. A key role is played by high-resolution molecular profiling techniques, which have often been made less expensive by Nanomedicine. CLINAM offers excellent opportunities for the huge number of organizations, which are engaged in worldwide efforts aimed at achieving this goal, exchanging expertise and launching joint ventures for further acceleration of the process.

Assisting in translation from research to practical applications

The pathway from the innovative idea to the application, development, regulatory approval and commercialization of nanomedical drugs is complex and requires first and foremost an understanding of the cause of the disease in question. The nature of nano-drugs and their use require a high level of knowledge in many other disciplines, including physics, chemistry, pharmacology, biology, engineering and nanotechnology. Dialogue and exchange between all these disciplines are a “must”. The translation process from research findings to applications in Nanomedicine and Targeted Medicine has been developing well and is now on the agenda of the global players in the pharmaceutical industry. The decision makers in pharmaceutical companies are starting to appreciate the quality and potential of Nanomedicine and Targeted Medicine for significantly increasing the output of diagnostics and therapeutic products that are less invasive and have fewer side effects. By bringing the relevant stakeholders together, CLINAM has achieved an actively promoting role in the translation process.

Members of the Research Group

Research of the Lab

Designing materials for biomedical delivery

Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize targeting for diagnosis and treatment. New materials and fabrication techniques influence the way we administrate drugs to the patients and how the drugs reach the therapeutic target. The use of nanostructured, e.g. liposomal, and more recently, of polymeric delivery strategies has received large attention recently under the term “nanomedicine”. For the use in molecular imaging and targeted therapy in man, it is desirable that nanomaterials of the future fulfil a long list of features. Stealth properties, good receptor binding properties, minimal or controlled interaction with plasma proteins (e.g. immunoglobulins, complement, coagulation), minimal or controlled interaction with immune cells, with red blood cells, with platelets, with target cells, suited kinetics in the circulation and in tissues, well-understood elimination from the body, absence of unintended toxicity, predictable impact of optional intelligent (e.g. stimuli-reactivity, switch-ability) features.

Smart nanomaterials for medicine

In our group, we develop reactive nanosystems introduced to cancer therapy. Physicochemical conditions (pH or Redox potential) and the presence of specific enzymes at the target locations can be exploited to deploy activity selectively at the target site.

We contributed to the development of polymer-carrier based, receptor-targetable photodynamic Nanosystems and have shown that such systems can exert more efficient cytotoxicity on cancer cells than all controls tested, while sparing sensitive bystander cells (for further reading see [S. Waldmann 2014].

At present, we are also working on the development of slow-release nanopills for mosquitoes for interrupting malaria transmission.

Toxicity of targeted therapies

An important topic in targeted therapies is toxicity, in particular immunotoxicity. Monoclonal antibodies used in clinical application were initially of mouse origin and could induced potent immune reaction; newer generations of monoclonal antibodies are “humanized” and glycosylated in specific manner to minimize their immunogenicity. Injection of liposomes and of other nanoparticle types can elicit infusion reactions that have a different pathogenesis, but can be severe (and sometimes lethal), and are often not the result of circulating antibodies, but a manifestation of complement activation. We developed strategies of polymer synthesis that minimize the risk of infusion reactions.

3D printing for medical purposes

The use of 3D printing technique for medical purposes is expanding rapidly. At present we explore the benefits in the customization and personalization of medical products used in hospitals and in particular at an intensive care unit.

Miniaturization of Diagnostics

Micro/nano-fluidic systems and micro/nanoparticles are two technologies that have evolved rapidly in recent years and are increasingly incorporated into diagnostic devices.

For medicine, microfluidics are of significant interest in two areas: reproducible synthesis of complex nanosystems (“Factory-on-chip”), and analytic application (“Lab-on-Chip”).

We have developed a technique for the manufacturing of programmable, interconnected full 3D microfluidics and explore currently the options in flexibility and multiplexed operation in future point-of-care devices. 

Modeling and construction of complex 3D channel network, opening the way to 3D stacking of microchannels, e.g. for scaleup Top (not to scale): channel structure (grey), channel exit blocking (green) as flow control mechanism, and predicted flow (red) from/to yellow macro-micro interface. Bottom: Colored solid needles block exit sites of straight channel segments and determine the path of the fluid flow. Injection needles: Macro-to- micro interface. On dye injection, fluid flows from top right, along the x-axis to the center of the image, then along the y-axis to the upper left, than along the z-axis down to another Y channel, where it flows back to the exit port at the bottom right. Changing the location of the blocking needles reprograms the network to a different flow path. Scale bars represent 6 mm.


Micro/nanoparticle based immunoassays play an important role in medical diagnostics (and medical therapy) because they offer a large reactive surface compared to conventional multi-well assays. We aim to use particle-based assays in the microfluidic devices we develop. These particles can be produced from a large number of basic materials and can be equipped with specific properties (e.g. transparent, opaque, fluorescent; polymeric versus anorganic, non-reactive versus receptor/antibody coated, magnetic versus nonmagnetic). We optimized particle-based assays for the diagnosis of e.g. malaria, typhus, dengue and pneumococcal infection. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0960-1317/25/2/025018


Micro/nanoparticle based immunoassays play an important role in medical diagnostics (and medical therapy) because they offer a large reactive surface compared to conventional multi-well assays. We aim to use particle-based assays in the microfluidic devices we develop. These particles can be produced from a large number of basic materials and can be equipped with specific properties (e.g. transparent, opaque, fluorescent; polymeric versus anorganic, non-reactive versus receptor/antibody coated, magnetic versus nonmagnetic). We optimized particle-based assays for the diagnosis of e.g. malaria, typhus, dengue and pneumococcal infection.

Modeling and applied computer science

Together with the spin-off HighDim, we develop programs for ARM processors (e.g. for imaging of samples) and algorithms for data analysis. These ARM processors are designed for the use in mobile devices or other low power electronics such as point-of-care devices.

Projects of the Lab

Nanomedicine for Malaria Initiative of the CLINAM-Foundation

Malaria, an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes, is one of the most devastating diseases in developing countries. This disease hits children in a particularly severe way: about 1 million children in Africa die every year from this disease. The CLINAM Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine, the non-profit foundation, aiming at the application of the nanoscience to the benefit of patients and humankind, believes that modern high tech should be made available also to those parts of the world with the lowest income and the largest healthcare problems. It has initiated the Nanomedicine for Malaria-Initiative, where suited "high tech /low cost / low complexity" approaches are developed to diagnose and combat malaria in concert. It has established an international network of opinion leaders and international bodies in the field and is working on relevant research projects. CLINAM is also involved in the European Framework Programme supported project „DiscoGnosis“(see www.DiscoGnosis.eu)

Non-profit research for the poorest parts of humankind benefit from your financial support:

The CLINAM-Nanomedicine Research Lab is also working on the development of slow-release nanopills for mosquitoes for interrupting malaria transmission. The Swiss National Fund (SNF) funds this project.

EU-Project involvement in the Malaria Project DiscoGnosis

The aim of the FP7 research project DiscoGnosis is to develop a disc shaped point-of-care platform for the multiplexed detection of infectious diseases that may also be used resource limited areas. Included in the diagnostic panel are: the malaria parasite, the dengue and the chikungunya viruses, and the bacteria S. Typhi and S. Pneumoniae. The consortium includes 7 partners from academia and industry from 3 different European countries and Switzerland. The project started in November 2012 and ends in April 2016. For more information see: http://discognosis.eu/  


Recent Publications of members of the lab

Publications between 2010 and 2015

- Diagnosing dengue virus infection - rapid tests and the role of micro/nanotechnologies. B Zhang, GB Salieb-Beugelaar, MM Nigo, M Weidmann, P Hunziker. Nanomedicine 2015, 11 (2015) 1745–1761

-Towards nano-diagnostics for bacterial infections. GB Salieb-Beugelaar, PR Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2015, 7 (1), 37 - 50.

- Construction of programmable interconnected 3D microfluidic networks. PR Hunziker, MP Wolf, X Wang, B Zhang, S Marsch, GB Salieb-Beugelaar. J Micromech Microeng 2015, 25 (2), 025018.

-Towards nano-diagnostics for rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases-current technological state. GB Salieb-Beugelaar, PR Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2014, 6 (1), 11 - 28.

- Plasmid linearization changes shape and efficiency of transfection complexes. R Lehner, X Wang, P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2013, 5 (4) 205 - 212.

- ABC versus CAB for cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A prospective, randomized simulator-based trial. S Marsch, F Tschan, NK Semmer, R Zobrist, PR Hunziker, S Hunziker. Swiss Med Wkly 2013, 143, 13856.

- Percutaneous biventricular cardiac assist device in cardiogenic shock. P Hunziker, L Hunziker. Eur Heart J 2013, 34 (22), 1620

- Intelligent nanomaterials for medicine: Carrier platforms and targeting strategies in the context of clinical application. Lehner R, X Wang, S Marsch, P Hunziker. Nanomedicine 2013, 9 (6) 742 -757.

- Nanomedicine enabled by computational sciences. P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2013, 5 (4), 173 - 174 (Editorial)

- Comprehensive targeting: The avenue to a personalized, highly effective, innocuous, and cost-effective medicine of the future. P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2013 5 (1), 3-4 (Editorial).

- Polydimethylsiloxane embedded mouse aorta ex vivoperfusion model: Proof-of-concept study focusing on atherosclerosis. X Wang, MP Wolf, RB Keel, R Lehner, PR Hunziker. J Biomed Optics 2012, 17 (7), 076006.

- Why not just switch on the light? : Light and its versatile applications in the fi eld of nanomedicine. R Lehner, P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2012, 4 (2-4), 73 - 80.-  Designing switchable nanosystems for medical application. R Lehner, X Wang, M Wolf, P Hunziker. J Control Release 2012, 161 (2), 307 - 316

- Nanomedicine - shaping the medicine of the future. P Hunziker. Z Med Phys 2012, 22 (1), 1 - 3

- Widespread orphan diseases - A call for research, development strategies, and regulatory pathways for frequent diseases with multiple molecularly defined subgroups. P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2012, 4 (2-4), 55 - 56

- "Knowledge-based (personalized) medicine " instead of " evidence-based (cohort) medicine : Applying nanoscience and computational science to create an effective, safe, curative and affordable medicine of the future. P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2012, 4 (1), 4 - 6.

- Reply to: Leadership in medical emergencies is not sex specific. S Marsch, S Hunziker, P Hunziker, F Tschan, NK Semmer. Simul Healthc 2012, 7 (2), 134 - 136 (Letter)

- Succinylcholine versus rocuronium for rapid sequence intubation in intensive care: A prospective, randomized controlled trial. SC Marsch, L Steiner, E Bucher, H Pargger, M Schumann, T Aebi, PR Hunziker, M Siegemund. Crit Care 2011, 15 (4), R199

- Leadership in medical emergencies depends on gender and personality. M Fischer, S Rüegg, A Czaplinski, M Strohmeier, A Lehnmann, F Tschan, PR Hunziker, SC Marsch. Simul Healtc 2011, 6 (2), 78 - 83.

- Reconstruction of large, irregularly sampled multidimensional images. A tensor-based approach. OV Morozov, M Unser, P Hunziker. IEEE Trans Med Imaging 2011, 30 (2), 366 - 374.

- Immunohistochemical localization of nanocontainers in mouse tissues. SS Abrahamyan, P Broz, AB Semerjyan, IK Sahakyan, NV Tumasyan, HS Sisakian, P Hunziker. New Arm Med J, 2011, 5 (2), 49 - 53.

- Automatic SoC design flow on many-core processors: A software-hardware co-design approach for FPGAs.  L Liu, O Morozov, Y Han, J Gutknecht, P Hunziker ACM/SIGDA International Symposium on Field Programmable Gate Arrays - FPGA 2011, 37 - 40 (Conference paper)

- Interrater reliability of the Full Outline of UnResponsiveness score and the Glasgow Coma Scale in critically ill patients: A prospective observational study. M Fischer, S Rüegg, Czaplinski, M Strohmeier, A Lehmann, F Tschan, PR Hunziker, SC Marsch. Crit Care 2010, 14 (2), R64.

- Brief leadership instructions improve cardiopulmonary resuscitation in a high-fidelity simulation: A randomized controlled trial. S Hunziker, C Bühlmann, F Tschan, G Balestra, C Legeret, C Schumacher, NK Semmer, P Hunziker, S Marsch. Crit Care Med 2010, 38 (4), 1086 - 1091

- Serum procalcitonin, C-reactive protein and white blood cell levels following hypothermia after cardiac arrest: A retrospective cohort study. P Schuetz, B Affolter, S Hunziker, C Winterhalder, M Fischer, GM Balestra, P Hunziker, S Marsch. Eur J Clin Invest 2010, 40 (4), 376 - 381.

-  Proficiency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation of medical students at graduation: A simulator-based comparison with general practitioners. F Lüscher, S Hunziker, V Gaillard, F Tschan, NK Semmer, PR Hunziker, S Marsch. Swiss Med Wkly 2010, 140 (3-4), 57 - 61.

- Tensor B-spline reconstruction of multidimensional signals from large irregularly sampled data. OV Morozov, P Hunziker. 2010 International Kharkov Symposium on Physics and Engineering of Microwaves, Millimeter and Submillimeter Waves, MSMW' 2010, Article nr 5546013 (Conference paper)

- Towards targeted drug delivery by covalent ligand-modified polymeric nanocontainers. S Egli, B Fischer, S Hartmann, P Hunziker, W Meier, P Rigler. Macromolecular Symposia 2010, 296 (1), 278 - 285 (Conference paper)

- Nanomedicine - Shaping the future of medicine in a context of academia, industry and politics. P Hunziker. Eur J Nanomed 2010, 3 (1), 6 (Editorial)