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Posts Tagged ‘NanoTech’

Healing Wounds With Nanodiamonds

“This study introduces the concept of nanodiamond-mediated release of therapeutic proteins,” said Dean Ho, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Ho led the research. “It’s a tricky problem because proteins, even small ones like insulin, bind so well to the nanodiamonds. But, in this case, the right pH level effectively triggers the release of the insulin.”

Nanodiamonds will hold onto insulin tightly under normal pH conditions. If they are place in an alkaline environment (pH above 7) the insulin loses its grip and is released.

That’s all well and good but why would you want to put insulin onto a would site?

Insulin accelerates wound healing by acting as a growth hormone. It encourages skin cells to proliferate and divide, restores blood flow to the wound, suppresses inflammation and fights infection. Earlier investigations have confirmed an increase in alkalinity of wound tissue, due to bacterial colonization, to levels as high as pH 10.5, the pH level that promoted insulin release from the nanodiamonds in the Northwestern study.

Now it makes sense.

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Some exciting news on the cure for cancer front from a research team headed by Sangeeta N. Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael J. Sailor, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego.

Gold nanoshells are among the most promising new nanoscale therapeutics being developed to kill tumors, acting as antennas that turn light energy into heat that cooks cancer to death. Now, a multi-institutional research team has shown that polymer-coated gold nanorods one-up their spherical counterparts, with a single dose completely destroying all tumors in a nonhuman animal model of human cancer.

Here’s how it works, in simple English:

Tiny gold particles are injected into the site of the tumor and absorbed by it. These particles can then be heated using infrared light to a high enough temperature to destroy the cancerous tissue without harming the surrounding tissue. Not only that, but if the cancerous tissue cannot be completely eliminated through this method, the heating makes it more susceptible to the effects of chemotherapy, for a combined knock out punch. These particle can also be coated with different materials which can relay all sorts of useful data to the proper type of scanner.

The bad news is that this is still in the research phase of development.

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Here’s a whole bunch of “just around the corner” advances which will have an impact on health and medicine within the next 5 – 10 years. Some are already undergoing clinical trials.

The list:

  1. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) In TMS, magnetic pulses created by a metal coil attached to the scalp generate small electrical currents in the brain; these stimulate nerve cells in areas involved in depression—without harming surrounding gray matter.
  2. Stem Cell ScaffoldTo pinch-hit for missing tissue at an injury site, stem cells need a scaffold to grow on—but artificial materials such as plastic won’t do, since the body flags and rejects them as foreign sub­stances.
  3. Instant DiagnosisThe device he’s designed detects thousands of different biological molecules in a single exhalation, creating a snapshot of the breath’s contents that could signal the presence of illnesses, from cancer to cystic fibrosis.
  4. Pre-emptive Strike Against CancerDerived from acids in plants, CDDO-Im activates natural enzymes that remove toxic compounds from cells—compounds that might otherwise create DNA mutations that lead to cancer.
  5. Implantable Nanowire If Zhong Lin Wang has his way, routine blood-pressure checks at the doctor’s office will soon be a thing of the past. The Georgia Institute of Technology physicist has designed an implantable nanowire that measures pressure fluctuations constantly, enabling patients to track their vital stats from home.
  6. Superbug ZapperArizona State physicist K.T. Tsen has developed the ultimate multipurpose treatment tool: a superfast infrared laser that zaps bacteria and viruses without harming surrounding tissue.
  7. Targeted DeliveryTo help patients avoid side-effect doldrums, researchers at Philips’s pharmaceutical division are developing the medical equivalent of a targeted missile-delivery system.
  8. Bloodstream Bot – A mosquito-size robot developed by Oded Salomon, an engineer at Israel’s Technion Institute, may be able to pull off these surgical feats without making large incisions—so recuperation is much faster.
  9. EKG UntetheredWake up in the morning, stick a featherweight patch on your chest and tackle your day with the assurance that computers are keeping a constant eye on your ticker.
  10. Nano Cancer FightersThe particles have substances on their surfaces that make them home in on the cancer—one type contains a peptide that binds to proteins found in a tumor’s vessel linings.

Read the whole article for all the juicy details.

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