Category Archives: Biomedical

Anthrax vaccine produces immunity with nanoparticles, not needles

A vaccine against anthrax that is more effective and easier to administer than the present vaccine has proved highly effective in tests in mice and guinea pigs, report University of Michigan Medical School scientists in the August issue of Infection and Immunity.

The scientists were able to trigger a strong immune response by treating the inside of the animals’ noses with a “nanoemulsion” – a suspension of water, soybean oil, alcohol and surfactant emulsified to create droplets of only 200 to 300 nanometers in size. It would take about 265 of the droplets lined up side by side to equal the width of a human hair.

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Scientists train nano-‘building blocks’ to take on new shapes

Researchers from the University of Delaware and Washington University in St. Louis have figured out how to train synthetic polymer molecules to behave–to literally “self-assemble” –and form into long, multicompartment cylinders 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, with potential uses in radiology, signal communication and the delivery of therapeutic drugs in the human body. The discovery, a fundamental new tool for nanotechnology, is reported in the Aug. 3 issue of the prestigious journal ‘Science.’

 

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Gold nanoparticles may pan out as tool for cancer diagnosis

When it comes to searching out cancer cells, gold may turn out to be a precious metal.

Purdue University researchers have created gold nanoparticles that are capable of identifying marker proteins on breast cancer cells, making the tiny particles a potential tool to better diagnose and treat cancer. The technology would be about three times cheaper than the most common current method and has the potential to provide many times the quantity and quality of data, said Joseph Irudayaraj, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

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Nano propellers pump with proper chemistry

The ability to pump liquids at the cellular scale opens up exciting possibilities, such as precisely targeting medicines and regulating flow into and out of cells. But designing this molecular machinery has proven difficult.

Now chemists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have created a theoretical blueprint for assembling a nanoscale propeller with molecule-sized blades.

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Brightening prospects of using fluorescent nanotubes in medical applications

In a way, nanotubes are nature’s smallest candles. These tiny tubes are constructed from carbon atoms and they are so small that it takes about 100,000 laid side-by-side to span the width of a single human hair. In the last five years, scientists have discovered that some individual nanotubes are fluorescent. That is, they glow when they are bathed in light. Some glow brightly. Others glow dimly. Some glow in spots. Others glow all over.

Until now, this property has been largely academic. But researchers from the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) have removed an obstacle that has restricted fluorescent nanotubes from a variety of medical applications, including anti-cancer treatments.

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Tomorrow’s green nanofactories

Viruses are notorious villains. They cause serious human diseases like AIDS, polio, and influenza, and can lead to system crashes and data loss in computers.

A new podcast explores how nanotechnology researcher Angela Belcher, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is working with viruses to make them do good things. By exploiting a virus’s ability to replicate rapidly and combine with semiconductor and electronic materials, she is coaxing them to grow and self-assemble nanomaterials into a functional electronic device. Through this marriage of nanotechnology with green chemistry, Belcher and her team are working toward building faster, better, cheaper and environmentally-friendly transistors, batteries, solar cells, diagnostic materials for detecting cancer, and semiconductors for use in modern electrical devices—everything from computers to cell phones.

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Multifunctional nanoparticle platforms for targeting and imaging cancer cells

 

here has been much recent interest in how nanotechnology will impact the field of medicine. Unfortunately, a number of promising nanostructured systems have turned out to be extremely toxic to humans, thus precluding their use in clinical applications and dashing hopes of an early success for the interdisciplinary field of nanobiotechnology. Now a group of researchers at the University of Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences have devised a multifunctional nanoparticle platform comprising nanoparticles synthesized within dendrimers equipped with targeting molecules and dyes. These dendrimer nanoparticle systems are able to seek out and specifically bind to cancer cells.

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