A cluster of carbon nanotubes coated with a thin layer of protein-recognizing polymer form a biosensor capable of using electrochemical signals to detect minute amounts of proteins, which could provide a crucial new diagnostic tool for the detection of a range of illnesses, a team of Boston College researchers report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
A new way to deliver cancer drugs using gas bubbles and sound waves is to be developed at the University of Leeds. The project will enable highly toxic drugs to be delivered in small doses directly to tumours, where their toxicity can safely be put to good use. If successful, the technique could easily be adapted for other diseases.
Researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston have created a device that mimics a living, breathing human lung on a microchip. The device, about the size of a rubber eraser, acts much like a lung in a human body and is made using human lung and blood vessel cells.
EUREKA project E! 3371 Gene Transfer Agents
has made great advances in the development of novel non-viral carriers able to introduce genetic material into the target cells. These new agents, derivatives of cationic amphiphilic 1,4-dihydropyridine (1,4-DHP), avoid the problems of the recipient's immune system reacting against a viral carrier. The project partners have developed methods to produce them in large amounts, which solves another of the problems with viral delivery. But the greatest advantage is that the new compounds are significantly more effective at delivering DNA into cell nuclei than other standard synthetic carriers; increasing the chance of the DNA successfully controlling the defective genes, and the disease.
Free-electron-laser light sources, such as the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, arrived on the scene promising a unique scientific capability: "single-shot imaging." The idea is that a single, short-enough pulse of bright x-rays can generate enough information about a sample, perhaps a virus or a strand of DNA, to record the position of all its atoms before the energetic pulse blows the sample apart.
Suicide gene therapy is a cancer treatment strategy that targets tumors with toxic genes, or genes encoding enzymes that produce toxic compounds. However, since restricting suicide gene expression to the tumor is difficult, this approach can damage non-cancerous cells.
A Kansas State University chemical engineer has developed and patented a chemical structure to make all-natural personal care products and purer pharmaceuticals in the laboratory.
Porous silica can form stable and biocompatible nanometer-sized hollow spheres, or vesicles, that are suitable for transporting and delivering drugs to their targets in the body. The clinical use of silica vesicles, however, has been obstructed by the tendency for the spheres to clump into aggregates in water-based solutions. A team led by Ye Liu from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore has now circumvented this problem by attaching water-soluble, brush-shaped polymers called polyethylene glycol (PEG) to the shells of the silica vesicles ("Poly(ethylene glycol)-Graft-Hollow Silica Vesicles for Drug Delivery"
The NanoKTN is pleased to announce the first event from its NanoMed focus group. The event will examine areas where nanotechnology is already improving clinical practice and also where the technology will be impacting healthcare in the near and distant future
Researchers at the nanotechnology research centre imec (Leuven, Belgium) have demonstrated biosensors based on novel nanostructure geometries that increase the sensitivity and allow to detect extremely low concentrations of specific disease markers. This paves the way to early diagnostics of for example cancer by detecting low densities of cancer markers in human blood samples.
Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are announcing a strategic alliance designed to promote a broad spectrum of collaborative research, development of new technologies and clinical tools, and design and implementation of novel education programs. Both parties recently signed an agreement establishing the formal relationship.
The fastest growing waste in the EU could soon be helping to combat hospital infections, according to scientists at the University of York.
Imagine a pen-sized device to check your skin for melanoma. You skim the surface of your skin, and, if necessary, the pen advises you to see your physician to have a closer look at a certain spot. Such a pen would scan your skin, and detect if skin cancer is developing, even in an early stage. It would distinguish between healthy and suspicious spots, even if you can see no difference.
With "hands-on" experiences in childhood and adolescence having sparked so many science careers, scientists in Canada are describing a quick, simple, safe, and inexpensive way for kids to participate in making microfluidic devices. Those devices are at the heart of lab-on-a chip, inkjet printing, DNA chip, and other technologies. The scientists' instructions for making microfluidic devices from Jell-O® type dessert mixes and Popsicle-type sticks, and using them to demonstrate the basics of microfluidics, appear in ACS' Analytical Chemistry ("Using Inexpensive Jell-O Chips for Hands-On Microfluidics Education"
An understanding of particle diffusion in the presence of constrictions is essential in fields as diverse as drug delivery, cellular biology, nanotechnology, materials engineering, and spread of pollutants in the soil. When a driving force is applied, displacement of particles occurs as well as diffusion. A paper in the Journal of Chemical Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), quantifies the effects of periodic constrictions on drift and diffusion in systems experiencing a driving force.
Synthetic biology is an extension of the spirit of genetic engineering that focuses on the development of biological systems with new, defined characteristics, assembled according to the principles of engineering. Synthetic biology has the potential to be used for a broad range of applications and has solutions in store for major problems of the future, including the sustainable supply of energy and the elimination of environmental damage. As the current debate on the creation of the first synthetic cell in the laboratory shows, synthetic biology also fuels fears that human beings are playing the role of creators and going beyond natural boundaries, with incalculable consequences for the future.
For a successful infection, bacteria must outwit the immune system of the host. To this aim, they deliver so-called virulence factors through a transport channel located in the bacterial membrane. In some bacteria this transport channel is formed like a syringe, enabling them to inject virulence factors directly into the host cell. Scientists from the Max Planck Society and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing have now succeeded for the first time in elucidating basic principles of the assembly of this transport channel ("Protein refolding is required for assembly of the Type three secretion needle"). This is an important starting point for the development of new drugs that might interfere considerably earlier than antibiotics in the course of infection.
Gold nanoparticles — tiny spheres of gold just a few billionths of a meter in diameter — have become useful tools in modern medicine. They've been incorporated into miniature drug-delivery systems to control blood clotting, and they're also the main components of a device, now in clinical trials, that is designed to burn away malignant tumours.
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center have found a way to use a radical new type of gene therapy to prevent blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa, giving hope to the estimated 100,000 Americans who suffer from this debilitating disease.
Silk could provide a sophisticated new way of monitoring health, Peter Domachuk, a physicist from the University of Sydney, has found.