We are pleased to introduce the third special section of Advanced Healthcare Materials. The previous two sections have brought together top articles aimed at the application of materials to healthcare and biotechnology and have been very well received by the community. We thank our authors who contributed these articles, our referees for their time and expertise in the critical evaluation of the content, as well as our Editorial Advisory Board members who have advised and encouraged us in our efforts.
Our subject deals with a highly multidisciplinary effort from scientists across various fields of research, be it in materials science, chemistry, physics, medicine, pharmacy, or biology, working together to find solutions to challenges in the healthcare sector. The articles in this section bring together several such interdisciplinary studies that tackle approaches to the application of materials in diagnostics, imaging, cellular studies, therapeutics, and drug delivery.
Providing the inspiration for the cover of this Advanced Healthcare Materials section is a review of the rapidly emerging field of cancer nanotheranostics by Miqin Zhang from the University of Washington. Nanotechnology provides a mechanism for the interaction of molecular materials and cells that leads to new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Diagnostic techniques are the subject of two more contributions to this section. Firstly, Michael Sailor and colleagues report on porous silicon superstructures that embed and align iron oxide nanoparticles, leading to magnetic resonance imaging with high contrast and no marked increase in toxicity. A group led by Hakho Lee and Ralph Weissleder also reports a new system for magnetic imaging, this time using multipexable magnetic labels that improve the sensitivity of targeting of magnetic nanoprobes.
David Kohane and co-workers report a microgel system that can efficiently interact with histimine-tagged proteins, fundamentally advancing the purification of proteins for use in many fields of biotechnology and for studying biomedical processes.
The growth of stem cells and their differentiation on graphene is the subject of a Communication from Sung Young Park and colleagues. The work is a step toward using graphene-based nanostructured scaffolds for controlled neural stem cell differentiation that will help in the pursuit of new biocompatible neural implants and prosthetics. Another study focusing on the interface between living cellular materials and synthetic devices is reported by a group lead by George Malliaras; here, new conducting polymer electrodes were used to achieve high-quality electrocortigraphic measurements. The physical properties of the conformable electrode arrays make them suitable for direct in vivo neurological recording.
The last two contributions to this section focus on new approaches to drug delivery. A team led by Frank Caruso has combined several release mechanisms to demonstrate that smart polymer capsules can be produced with complex delivery and release profiles. To complete the section, using the cell-adhesion molecule E-Selectin, Mauro Ferrari, David Gorestein, and colleagues designed a nanoporous silicon delivery system that can be used for targeted drug delivery to hard-to-reach bone marrow, which reduces the need for untargeted therapies that negatively affect healthy cells and have toxic side effects.
We would like to take this opportunity to announce that from January 2012, Advanced Healthcare Materials will be launched as an independent journal. We look forward to being able to continue to present groundbreaking research results in materials science aimed at the promotion of human health. To celebrate the new journal, we will hold a reception during the Materials Research Society (MRS) Meeting in Boston on November 29, 2011. If you are attending the MRS meeting, please do drop by and meet us as well as Professor Younan Xia, Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board, and other board members.
We thank you, our loyal readers, for your continued support and hope to maintain your interest in the future issues of Advanced Healthcare Materials.