Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: December 12, 2007
Headline: Using nanotechnology, UCLA researchers discover cancer cells 'feel' much softer than normal cells
A multidisciplinary team of UCLA scientists were able to differentiate metastatic cancer cells from normal cells in patient samples using leading-edge nanotechnology that measures the softness of the cells.
The study… represents one of the first times researchers have been able to take living cells from cancer patients and apply nanotechnology to analyze them and determine which were cancerous and which were not. The nano science measurements may provide a potential new method for detecting cancer, especially in cells from body cavity fluids where diagnosis using current methods is typically very challenging.
Nature Nanotechnology abstract
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Health: Antibody targeting boosts liposomal drug anticancer activity
Headline: Antibody targeting boosts liposomal drug anticancer activity
The first drug-loaded nanoparticle approved to treat cancer is in line for an upgrade. Researchers at Northeastern University have improved the tumor-killing activity of liposomal doxorubicin, known as Doxil™, by attaching a monoclonal antibody that recognizes a protein found on the surface of cancer cells. The resulting targeted liposome improves drug uptake by malignant cells and, more importantly, increases the potency of the original liposome by as much as eightfold.
European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences abstract
Headline: Nanotube-producing bacteria show manufacturing promise
Two engineers at the University of California, Riverside are part of a binational team that has found semiconducting nanotubes produced by living bacteria — a discovery that could help in the creation of a new generation of nanoelectronic devices.
The research team believes this is the first time nanotubes have been shown to be produced by biological rather than chemical means. It opens the door to the possibility of cheaper and more environmentally friendly manufacture of electronic materials.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences abstract
Headline: New flexible, transparent transistors made of nanotubes
The ability to create flexible, transparent electronics could lead to a host of novel applications, such as e-paper and electronic car windshields. Now, scientists have constructed a transistor made of a network of nanotubes that may serve as an essential component in a trans-flex device.
…researchers from Hanyang University in Seoul have constructed a thin film transistor made of networked single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) on a glass substrate. While it's not the first thin film transistor made of SWNTs, it has the advantage of allowing a high density of SWNTs to be grown under lower temperatures than normally required.
Headline: IBM using light instead of wires for building supercomputers-on-a-chip
Supercomputers that consist of thousands of individual processor "brains" connected by miles of copper wires could one day fit into a laptop PC, thanks in part to a breakthrough by IBM scientists announced today.
And while today's supercomputers can use the equivalent energy required to power hundreds of homes, these future tiny supercomputers-on-a-chip would expend the energy of a light bulb.
"We believe this is a major advancement in the field of on-chip silicon nanophotonics," said Dr. Will Green, the lead IBM scientist on the project. "Just like fiber optic networks have enabled the rapid expansion of the Internet by enabling users to exchange huge amounts of data from anywhere in the world, IBM's technology is bringing similar capabilities to the computer chip."
Optics Express abstract
Headline: Variable nanocomposites
What appear under an atomic force microscope to be tiny rings with little bits missing are actually nanoscopic rings made of double-stranded DNA with a little gap in the form of a short single-stranded fragment. As Michael Famulok and his team from the University of Bonn, Germany, explain in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this gap is a place to attach other molecules that have the potential to transform the rings into versatile nanocomposites for various applications.
…"Our new, uncomplicated method for the production of rigid DNA nanorings with variable, tailor-made functionality opens new pathways for the construction of DNA objects with higher levels of organization," Famulok is convinced.
Angewandte Chemie International Edition abstract
Do you believe that nanotechnology will give society the ability to tackle the hard challenges facing humanity? What's your priority for nanotechnology: cancer treatments and longevity therapies, sustainable energy, clean water, a restored environment, space development, or "zero waste" manufacturing? Or perhaps there are potential nanotech scenarios you would like to prevent.
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This conference will highlight the current, near-term, and future applications of nanotechnology and how they are transforming the way we manufacture products. Peer networking, information sharing, and technology exchange among the world's nanomanufacturing leaders will be a key feature of the event.
Headline: Technique controls nanoparticle size, creates large numbers
[Washington University in St. Louis' Prof. Pratim] Biswas conducts research on nanoparticles, which are the building blocks for nanotechnology. For the first time, Biswas has shown that he can independently control the size of the nanoparticles that he makes while keeping their other properties the same. He's also shown with his technique that the nanoparticles can be made in large quantities in scalable systems, opening up the possibility for more applications and different techniques.
We continue our tradition of citing a special story that strikes the Editor as especially cool, but which doesn't fit within the usual editorial categories of the News Digest.
Carving a section out of a single-walled carbon nanotube and fitting a piece of DNA into the gap, and then measuring the current flow, may or may not be the easiest way to look for a specific gene, but it certainly takes some sort of prize for cleverness.
Headline: Nanoelectrodes could provide bird flu test
Detecting the presence of specific genes in a DNA sample can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Now scientists have demonstrated a new process that could make the task far easier — it's all done by wiring a DNA strand up to a pair of nanotube electrodes and feeding electricity through it.
Researchers from Florida International University, US; Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea; and the National Institute of Genetics, Japan, took a single-walled carbon nanotube and deposited titanium and gold at either end to create a pair of electrical contacts.
Then they used an ion-beam to remove a central section of the tiny tube, cutting it in half to create two electrodes separated by a gap roughly 27 nanometres wide. At the same time, the ion-beam also etched a shallow trench between the electrodes in a silicon substrate.
Nano Letters abstract
Jamais Cascio offers four nanotechnology policy scenarios over at CRN, looking at options resulting from two axes: centralized vs. decentralized, and precautionary vs. proactionary.
His two decentralized scenarios describe some territory similar to that which Foresight is investigating as part of our Decentralized Physical Security project…
Headline: Get your nanotechnology radio fix
For those of us who can't get enough nanotechnology info, now there's a one-hour radio show/podcast every week to download and enjoy while you drive or work out, hosted by industry analyst Marlene Bourne…
Foresight members will recognize the names of researchers Robert Freitas and Tad Hogg. These two in the U.S. have now teamed with others from Australia to model nanotechnology robotics for medical applications, as described at PhysOrg.com. Excerpts…
Here's a different model of research publishing: nanotechnology researchers can now publish their nanotech work and get paid via journal-related advertising and sponsorship, over at AZojono, the "online journal of nanotechnology"…
A post by Roland Piquepaille on ZDnet further exploring a topic recently covered here: nanoscale robotic devices for medical applications. The site allows you to indicate whether you want this subject covered in the future or not. Excerpt…
—Nanodot posts by Christine Peterson
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