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Quick blood tests by using a nanodevice

Scientists from the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science have gotten an assignment to create a special technique to produce nanowires, which would make mass production possible. The final goal is to be able to perform quick blood tests without the need to go to a laboratory.

The British researchers are using the standards that are currently being used in making television displays. The need for quick blood tests, which could be done during surgery, are in demand and would help significantly. Peter Ashburn, the leading researcher, said: “Standard clinical laboratory tests have limitations outside the laboratory, which can reduce the diagnostic impact of new protein biomarkers for complex conditions like cancer and chronic inflammation,” said Professor Ashburn. “One-dimensional nanostructures such as nanowires are ideal for diagnosis as they can be integrated into microfluidic chips that provide a complete sensor system.”

The research is supposed to end within three years.

Taiwan exploring how nanotech affects health

Taiwan, among other Asian countries, is heavily investing in nanotechnology — especially nanomedicine. They recognized the potential, and they’re jumping into it. However, they’re being cautious — National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan started a project which is supposed to explore the effects of nanotechnology on health.

The main goal of this research is to minimize the side effects caused by products based on nanotechnology. The officials in Taiwan reported that the value of products based on nanotechnology standards is over US$8.8 billion.
“Most of the simulation software currently used for nanotechnology research and its effect on the human body only supports the computation of either inorganic material or organic molecules. NCKU is the first institute to achieve a breakthrough that combines the simulation of organic and inorganic substances,” said Michael Lai, one of the researchers.

Nanodevices detect bacteria in food

It is estimated that over eleven million Canadians suffer from some kind of illnesses caused by bacteria intake through food. Most of the cases aren’t serious, but some definitely are — especially with pregnant women, for example. That’s why scientists were thoroughly working on designing a device based on nanotechnology standards which will be able to detect bacteria (such as salmonella) in food.

Although the technology has advanced, at this moment there is no quick test which would detect bacteria in food. “At the moment, the problem is you have to take a sample, put it on petri dish and put in stove for one day or sometimes three days (it depends on the pathogen you’re looking for), and then you count the colonies and know whether or not there are these nasty microbes,” said Frans Kampers, a biotech researcher.

There are many other areas where nanotechnology standards could be used — for example, it is possible to lower the number of calories in food, by replacing the inside of fat molecules with water, leaving the outside of the droplets and the taste and texture of the food unchanged.

Adopted from materials provided by cbc.ca

Nanoprobes detect and destroy cancer

A scientist from Purdue University has developed a nanoprobe, with many antibodies attached to it (herceptin). It is supposed to be able to locate tumors and might one day be able to directly attack cancer cells.

Joseph Irudayaraj, the scientist, said: “If we have a tumor, these nanoprobes should have the ability to latch on to it. The probe could carry drugs to target, treat as well as reveal cancer cells.”

Nanoscale probes that were created before were based on gold nanorods or magnetic nanoparticles. However, Irudayaraj’s probes use both, and that strengthens their properties.
The probes would be injected into the body through a saline buffering fluid, and the Herceptin would find and attach to protein markers on the surface of cancer cells.

“When the cancer cell expresses a protein marker that is complementary to Herceptin, then it binds to that marker,” said Irudayaraj. “We are advancing the technology to add other drugs that can be delivered by the probes.”

This is an another proof that nanomedicine is growing every day, and it’s on the way to become huge in the near future.

The details are published in Angewandte Chemie.

Adopted from materials provided by purdue.edu