Contact: Diane Greenberg, or Mona S. Rowe

Mailed 3/20/98

DOE Press Release



Upton, NY - Brookhaven National Laboratory will receive awards from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Research Laboratory Technology Research Program for work in the areas of biotechnology and advanced materials research. As outlined in the DOE press release, Brookhaven has been granted funds for the following research projects:


Development of Radioactive Stents for Prevention of Reformation of Arterial Blockage after Coronary Balloon Angioplasty


Over 400,000 coronary angioplasties are performed annually in the U.S. to unclog arteries filled with cholesterol. A major problem with balloon angioplasty is that the arteries get filled up with cells damaged from the procedure. This causes a new narrowing of the arteries, called restenosis. Metal devices, called stents, are used in the angioplasty procedure to mechanically keep the arteries open, but this device also has a 25 percent restenosis rate.

The goal of this research project is to coat stents with radioactive material that can prevent the growth of unwanted muscle cells that cause restenosis. Oak Ridge will produce the radioactive substance, called rhenium-188, as well as develop and optimize radioactive stents.

Brookhaven will perform animal studies to determine the effectiveness of the device. Over 120,000 patients per year in U.S. would benefit from this research, should it prove successful.

Analysis of DNA-Damage Responses in Human Cells

This research may lead to improved cancer therapies and the ability to evaluate cell damage after nuclear accidents and during space travel.

Some agents, such as ionizing radiation, ultraviolet light and anti-cancer drugs, cause damage to DNA, the blueprint for the genetic code. The body, however, can repair and minimize that damage. Precisely how the body detects DNA damage is unknown, but the damage and response signals are transferred primarily by protein kinases, enzymes that modify proteins by adding phosphates to them. Often several protein kinases form a pathway in which one protein kinase activates or inhibits another, thereby sending a signal through a cell to one or more target enzymes or proteins. Currently, these pathways are hard to detect.

The goal of this project is to make antibodies that easily recognize any of the thousands of protein kinase pathways, also called phosphorylation sites. The method will be tested by developing antibodies that recognize phosphorylated forms of the human tumor suppressor protein known as p53, which is critical in repairing DNA damage and in preventing cells from becoming cancerous.

New Materials for Rechargeable Lithium Batteries

The market for lithium batteries is growing because they are more compact and more powerful than competing metal hydride batteries, and they have greater capacities and longer lifetimes, compared to their conventional counterparts. These advantages are important for devices such as cell phones and laptop computers. Enhancing performance, reducing cost and replacing toxic materials with environmentally benign materials are the goals of this lithium battery research.

The research will focus on developing new electrolyte and cathode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries. Gould Electronics, Inc., will evaluate additives to electrolyte materials for potential use in commercial battery cells, while Brookhaven will investigate problems associated with currently used cathode materials and search for new ones.

The Brookhaven researchers will use x-ray probes at the Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source to characterize the materials. This project should improve the performance and reduce the cost of current lithium polymer batteries and also develop the next generation of lithium cells, the lithium polymer batteries.

Development of a Buffer Layer for Superconducting Tapes

High-temperature superconductors can carry very high electrical currents in liquid nitrogen, with no loss of energy. If suitable conductors for electric utility applications can be made, significant savings in the cost of electricity is envisioned. These conductors would also be used for magnets in future high-energy particle accelerators.

A high-temperature superconductor, yttrium-barium-copper-oxide (YBCO), can be made into a metallic tape that carries sufficiently high currents for power applications. Fabricating this tape, however, requires formation of a ceramic buffer layer between the superconductor and the tape. Synthesis of this buffer layer is so slow that it is not economically viable for power applications. The goal of this project is to improve the fabrication process of the buffer layer. To do so, the Brookhaven researchers will use a high-resolution transmission electron microscope to examine how the buffer layer is formed. Large-scale fabrication of the conductors will be performed at Oxford Superconducting Technology.





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March 19, 1998





Secretary of Energy Federico Peña announced today the selection of awards for research with benefits ranging from longer lasting car engines to new drugs to treat cancer. The 16 awards, totaling nearly $12 million, will go to five Department of Energy laboratories for research in partnership with industry. Industry expects to provide $17.5 million in private funding for the three-year program.

"This research is of value both to industry for its eventual commercial applications and to the Department of Energy with its broad range of mission needs," said Secretary Peña. "By working together, we will be able to benefit from sharing our unique and complementary research facilities and expertise."

The laboratories receiving the awards are: Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill.; Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y.; E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif.; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash.

Project technical areas include advanced materials, biotechnology and intelligent processes and controls. For example, in materials research the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Seagate Technology, Fremont, Calif., will design molecular lubricants for computer disks with the goal of more reliable, higher performance and cheaper computers. In the biotechnology area, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Genometrix Inc., The Woodlands, Texas, will develop a gene-based detector that, by rapidly identifying microorganisms, will have applications in medicine, agriculture, public health safety and biotechnology. Intelligent process awards include work by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Perkin-Elmer Corp. of Norwalk, Conn.; they are developing wireless sensors that detect low-level light from bacteria which are genetically engineered to glow in the presence of pollutants, allowing the pollutants to be measured more accurately and inexpensively.

The projects, funded under the department's Office of Energy Research, support high-risk, multidisciplinary cost-shared research partnerships to investigate scientific problems whose solutions have promising commercial potential. The department's awards support the national laboratories' research, while the industry partners support their research and often provide equipment or funds to the laboratory.

The projects were chosen by peer review on the basis of their scientific/technical merit and commercial potential. A cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) will spell out the arrangement in each project. Detailed information about each project's research, potential benefits and funding is available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.er.doe.gov/production/octr/aeptr/newstarts/. Brief descriptions follow.

In advanced materials research, Argonne National Laboratory and Front Edge Technology Inc., Baldwin Park, Calif., Stirling Thermal Motors Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Diesel Technology Co., Wyoming, Mich., will improve the understanding of carbon films to allow extended wear life, reduced maintenance costs and increased energy efficiency in automobile engines. Argonne will also work with the Dow Chemical Co. of Freeport, Texas, to develop new electrodes for producing magnesium, saving money and energy while reducing emissions. Brookhaven National Lab and Gould Electronics of Eastlake, Ohio, will partner to develop new materials for rechargeable lithium batteries. Brookhaven will also work with Oxford Superconducting Technology of Carteret, N.J., to improve how superconductors are manufactured, with potential savings in electricity in power transmission lines and transformers.

Also, in advanced materials work, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Commonwealth Scientific Corp of Alexandria, Va., will develop a coating system for magnetic storage devices that will improve computer data storage capacity. The Pacific Northwest National Lab and SEMATECH of Austin, Texas, will develop new films to reduce manufacturing cost and enhance performance of semiconductor devices.

In the biotechnology area, Brookhaven and Oncogene Research Products, Cambridge, Mass., will study how cells respond to DNA damage for use in better cancer therapy strategies. Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Genzyme Corp, Cambridge, Mass., will develop a method to screen quickly hundreds of thousands of drug candidates for treatment of cancer. Oak Ridge and Brookhaven National Laboratories and InnerDyne Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., will develop a simple, cost-effective procedure to keep arteries from blocking again after coronary balloon angioplasty.

In intelligent processes and controls research, Argonne and Oak Ridge and Analysis and Design Applications, Co. (ADAPCO), Melville, N.Y., General Motors Corp., Warren, Mich., Chrysler Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich., and Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., will develop models to understand complex underhood

thermal phenomena which will allow improved design of current and next generation vehicles. Oak Ridge and the Forging Industry Association, Cleveland, Ohio, United Defense LP, Anniston, Ala., A. Finkl & Sons Co., Chicago, Ill., and Scientific Forming Technologies Corp, Columbus, Ohio, will demonstrate the use of localized infrared heating in steel forging to reduce costs and lower emissions.

In applied mathematics, Pacific Northwest National Lab and IBM, Waltham Mass., and Corning Inc., Corning, N.Y., will develop computer software to improve glass production. Under catalysis work, Argonne and UOP, Des Plaines, Ill., and Unitel Technologies, Mt. Prospect, Ill., will develop a new technique to produce hydrogen peroxide more safely and cheaply.