Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: October 11, 2006
Nanotechnology that's Good For People
Foresight note: Nanoparticles continue to be a promising mechanism for drug delivery.
Headline: Photochemistry creates drug-trapping nanoparticles
Many of the most potent anticancer agents are poorly soluble in water, presenting a challenge for medicinal chemists who must develop methods of delivering these drugs in the watery environment of the human body. Nanoparticles appear to be perfectly suited to this task, and indeed, numerous research groups are developing nanoparticles specifically for delivering water-insoluble drugs to tumors.
One such team, led by Jeffrey Hubbell, Ph.D., at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, has developed a method that uses light to create a well-defined polymeric nanoparticle with internal spaces that can provide a friendly environment to water-insoluble drugs and channels through which the entrapped drugs can escape into malignant cells. The results of this effort appear in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Foresight note: According to this article, this nanoscale discovery could revolutionize surgery and it is the first time nanotech has been used in controlling bleeding.
Headline: Pour-on nanotechnology stops bleeding in seconds
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, have created a liquid that stops bleeding in any tissue in a matter of seconds. It is a discovery that they claim has the potential to revolutionize surgery and emergency medicine and could even make it easier to reattach severed limbs.
Rutledge Ellis-Behnke and colleagues worked from the nanoscale, using individual amino acids to create a self-assembling peptide. It looks exactly like water but when applied directly onto injured tissue it halts bleeding. This is the first time nanotechnology has been used to control bleeding, claims Rutledge.
The remarkable discovery was made by accident during an experiment in which the liquid was used to stimulate nerve repair in the brains of rats. Ellis-Behnke's group, whose work is focused on central nervous system repair, found that the liquid mended the nerve cells as predicted, but caused a strange side effect.
Nanotechnology that's Good For the Planet
Foresight note: Here is some long term funding for nanotech research that may result in increased energy efficiency throughout society.
Headline: DoE to spend $5M for solid-state lighting research
The US Department of Energy's (DoE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will spend nearly $5 million for solid-state lighting (SSL) research in nanotechnology, it was announced last week. The research will be conducted by DoE's Sandia, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Argonne national laboratories, with Sandia's four projects receiving approximately half of the funds.
DOE Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced the selection of the seven projects, saying SSL has the potential to more than double the efficiency of general lighting systems, reducing overall US energy consumption and saving consumers money.
Foresight note: The space elevator time frame has been pushed back to 2031 but there is now a Roadmap.
Headline: Space elevator construction delayed by 13 years
It appears that LiftPort, one of the leading pioneers in space elevator technology has pushed back the initial construction date of a space elevator from 2018 to the current date of 2031.
The company goes on to list reasons for the later date over on their official Roadmap Plan:
Although LiftPort is involved in the production of carbon nanotubes, we will likely rely on the global development of high strength CNT materials. While we assume the material will be available around the year 2020, earlier availability will not particularly speed up development of the space elevator.
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National Nano Engineering Conference
National Nano Engineering Conference
NASA Tech Briefs proudly presents the 2006 National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC). Produced for design engineers who want to discover what's real, what's close and what might be coming in the world of nanotechnology.
The 2006 NNEC will include technical presentations and exhibits from companies leading the nanotechnology industry. The Nano50 Awards will also be presented during the conference, showcasing the top innovators, technologies and products in nanotechnology.
Discover the latest nanoscale engineering breakthroughs impacting:
Headline: Nanoparticle assembly acceleration studied
News source: ScienceDaily
U.S. scientists say the speed of nanoparticle assembly can be accelerated with the assistance of DNA, the molecule that carries life's genetic instructions.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory recently found nanoparticles could potentially be used for more efficient energy generation and data storage, as well as improved methods for diagnosing and treating disease.
However, the scientists note that learning how to control and tailor the assembly of such miniscule particles into larger functional systems remains a major challenge.
"Understanding how to self-assemble these types of nanomaterials has applications in all areas of nanotechnology, from optics to electronics to magnetic materials," said the study's lead author Mathew Maye, a Brookhaven chemist.
Headline: FDA gets mixed advice on nanotechnology
News source: BusinessWeek online by Andrew Bridges
The government must balance close oversight of the fast-growing field of nanotechnology against the risk of stifling new development, a Food and Drug Administration conference was told yesterday.
These contrasting views emerged from a host of experts that the agency brought together to how it should regulate products containing tiny particles, some as small as one-millionth the width of the head of a pin. Increasingly, those submicroscopic particles are being incorporated in the thousands of products overseen by the FDA, including drugs, foods, cosmetics and medical devices.
Dr. Alan Heeger, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, chief scientist and co-founder of Konarka and professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will give a presentation on nano energy at SEMI NanoForum.
In addition to Dr. Heeger, SEMI NanoForum 2006 brings industry luminaries together to share their insights on successful strategies and technologies for commercializing nanotechnology across four key industries including biotech, energy, defense and aerospace, and nanoelectronics.
The primary objective of SEMI NanoForum is to bring nano materials and manufacturing experts, that have enabled the success of the semiconductor industry, together with nanotech executives to match proven capabilities that are available today with needs to enhance existing products, develop new nano products faster and speed time to market.
Dear readers – When reviewing news for this digest, I often read about something that I think is cool, but it doesn't fit within the usual editorial categories of the News Digest. This section highlights a nanotech advance, event or idea that I think is especially cool.
This is nanotechnology research was mentioned above under Foresight Challenge #3: Improving health and longevity, but I couldn't resist providing more info.
According to this article, "Currently a huge 50 percent of surgical time is spent working to control bleeding." This nanotechnology application could change this. I have pulled a quote from the research scientist at MIT that illustrates just how radical this change could be.
Headline: Peptide Cocktail Stops Bleeding In Seconds
News source: Science AGoGo
"We have found a way to stop bleeding, in less than 15 seconds, that could revolutionize bleeding control," said Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a research scientist at MIT...
The researchers experimented on several types of rodent tissue — brain, liver, skin, spinal cord and intestine. "In almost every one of the cases, we were able to immediately stop the bleeding," said Ellis-Behnke. He foresees that the material could be of great use during surgery, especially surgery that is done in a messy environment such as a battlefield. "The time to perform an operation could potentially be reduced by up to 50 percent," he added.
Headline: Viruses begin to do nanotechnology construction at MIT
From the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards for 2006, MIT's Angela Belcher and colleagues are using viruses to build at the molecular level:
MIT scientists reached a major nanotech milestone: re-engineering a virus to create a self-assembling product.
THE GOAL OF nanofabrication is to make tiny machines build themselves using molecules they grab from their surroundings. It's easy to dismiss the concept as science fiction — or hype. Until you hear what's been going on in the lab of MIT materials scientist Angela Belcher, a star in nanotechnology circles.
— Christine Peterson
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