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Home > Best of Nanotechnology > 2003 > Best Discoveries - Runners-up

For the past six years the team at Nanotechnology Now has tracked the thousands of websites, individuals, businesses, and government and educational institutions that exist in the nanospace. We read about and report on them every day, 365 days a year. By interviewing them, and covering their news, opinions, discoveries, triumphs and failures, we have come to appreciate a few above the rest.

PROMISING DISCOVERIES

Nanotechnology Now 2003 Best Nanotechnology Awards
Click on the image to see the winner

Runners-up

While preparing this section of our 2003 Awards, I was a bit overwhelmed at the number of developments in medicine that have been enabled by nanotechnology. These 61 are just some of the promising nanotech-enabled medical discoveries and projects we highlighted for 2003. They appear in no particular order, however, each should be watched closely. Not mentioned are the team members assisting the lead investigator(s), and who share a measure of credit as well.

For each entry, we first indicate to whom credit is due, usually a person or persons affiliated with a university(ies) and/or company(ies). When you have an hour or so, click on this link to read the full articles. Following that is the title of the article, shown to give you an at-a-glance peak into what's happening in this area. Following that is an abstract from the article, for when you have a few more minutes. Occasionally, you will see "And" indicating that the individual or team has other programs.

When you finish reading this list, we hope you come away with the idea that there was a lot going on in 2003. Thanks in large part to our increased understanding of nanoscale science, the future of medicine looks bright indeed!



CANCER, DIAGNOSIS, ALZHEIMER'S
Chad Mirkin, Northwestern University Infector Detector Tells What's Ailing You "Each particle of gold carries a tiny piece of genetic material that complements an infectious agent's DNA. If the DNA matches, the gold will change colors. Research chemist Chad Mirkin said the detector can tell what agents are present in as little as a 30 minutes, compared to the days some tests currently take. Devices may be available within 2 years."

    And New method could aid in prostate and breast cancer diagnosis. "Scientists at Northwestern University have developed an ultra-sensitive technology based on gold nanoparticles and DNA that can detect prostate specific antigen (PSA) when present at extremely low levels in a blood sample. This promising new protein-detection method could be used to monitor prostate cancer patients following surgery and to detect the early signs of breast cancer. The life-saving potential of early detection has been well established for years, and improved cancer screening methods have helped to reduce the threat. The researchers have demonstrated that their method is a million times more sensitive than conventional methods, a feature that promises to change dramatically the way proteomics (the study and analysis of protein structure and function) and medical diagnostics are done."

    And Nanoparticles May Detect Alzheimer's, Lead To Reversal Of Memory Loss "Researchers have discovered for the first time in humans the presence of neurotoxic peptide assemblies that may be responsible for the memory loss found in individuals suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD). The next step is to develop clinical diagnostics -- using nanoparticles -- to detect the amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligands (ADDLs), and effective drugs that prevent the onset of AD, delay its progression, and potentially restore cognitive function in patients with memory-related disorders."

CANCER & DRUG DEVELOPMENT
Shuming Nie, Georgia Tech and Emory The color of cancer: nanoparticles offer new detection method "Associate professor Shuming Nie is trying to dramatically improve clinical diagnostic tests for the detection of cancer through the use of quantum dots, a type of nanoparticle. Quantum dots glow and act as markers on cells and genes, thereby allowing scientists to rapidly analyze biopsy tissue from cancer patients. Through early detection, doctors will be able to provide more effective therapies for cancer patients."

    And Biomedical engineer constructs illuminating nanoparticles for medical imaging and gene detection "A biomedical engineer at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a new class of biosensors that can recognize and detect specific DNA sequences and genetic mutations in laboratory experiments. The technology could lead to a new method of cancer detection or drug development. Dr. Shuming Nie, professor of biomedical engineering in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech. 'We expect that the integration of nanotechnology with biology and medicine will soon produce major advances in molecular diagnostics, therapeutics, molecular biology, and bioengineering,' said Dr. Nie. 'This new method of constructing nanobiosensors has potential as a unique tool for disease diagnosis and drug development.'"

DRUG DELIVERY
Karen Brunke, Targesome Nanoparticles for drug delivery "... nanoparticles that can be used for drug delivery. Any drug can be attached to the surface of the nanoparticle, resulting in improved therapeutic properties such as efficacy, safety, and increased half-life in the blood for small molecule drugs (thereby allowing less frequent intravenous dosing). The nanoparticle allows multiple therapeutic or targeting agents to be attached to it so that these agents can bind more tightly to the targeted receptors on the cell surface. It also allows different therapeutic molecules to bind to it at the same time or a therapeutic payload (a chemotherapeutic drug, for instance) can be added on the inside of the nanoparticle to further increase the efficacy of the drug attached to the surface."

CANCER
Zhang Yangde, Key Laboratory for Nanometric Biotechnology Nanometric biotechnology effective in cancer treatment "Chinese scientists have discovered using nanometric biotechnology in cancer treatment can minimize damage to healthy cells. The experimental results showed that over 600 of more than 900 laboratory rats suffering from liver cancer recovered fully after the nano-tech treatment. Trials on people are expected to start at the end of this year."

CANCER & DIAGNOSIS
Jay Chia-chun Chen, National Taiwan Normal University Scientists develop enhanced biomedical nanoapplications "Taiwan's scientific progress has enabled the use of semiconductor crystals - each only a few nanometers in size - to act as "nanoparticles," which can be used to bind biomolecules. This technology presents several practical applications: first, they can be used as fluorescent markers to detect cancer cells and also be used to identify deleterious microorganisms. Second, the technology also represents a significant advance in existing immuno-assay techniques - which tests for the amount of antibodies or microbes present in an individual's immune system."

DIABETES
Itamar Willner, Hebrew University, and Brookhaven National Laboratory New biological sensors for detecting blood glucose developed "In the Hebrew University-Brookhaven research, the scientists have succeeded in implanting a gold nanoparticle with a diameter of 1.2 nanometers into the enzyme glucose oxidase. Experimental results have shown that this 'nanoplug' technology yields more sensitive and specific measuring of glucose in the blood then has been possible with existing techniques."

HIV
Jacquelyn Gervay Hague, University of California, Davis Nanotech Decoys for Viruses "Using nanotechnology to stop HIV viruses from entering cells is the ultimate aim of a new project at the University of California, Davis. The researchers hope to create tiny particles that can interfere with the proteins that viruses such as HIV use to attach to cells. "The idea is to make decoys for the virus," said Jacquelyn Gervay Hague, professor of chemistry at UC Davis and principal investigator on the grant. The researchers' ultimate goal is to create a quantum dot that can stick to the virus and prevent it from entering human cells. The group has already made gold nanoparticles coated with a non-patterned membrane."

CANCER
Gang Bao, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University Shining Light on Cancer: Improved Molecular Beacons Show Promise for Cancer Detection, Rapid Viral Diagnosis "Diagnosing cancer may one day involve introducing "molecular beacons" into the body and then watching for specific optical or magnetic signals as the nanometer-scale structures latch onto the unique genetic sequences that are markers for the disease. Believed to be the first technique for imaging RNA in living cells, a new class of beacons under development at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University also has potential applications in the rapid diagnosis of viral infections, as well as drug discovery and pharmacogenomics. Their ability to rapidly detect viruses makes the beacons potentially valuable in the battle against bio-terrorism. The researchers have shown that the clustering of magnetic nanoparticles can be detected with MRI, and they have combined the nanoparticles with oligonucleotides necessary for recognizing and binding to target mRNA."

GENE THERAPY
Tatjana Paunesku and Gayle Woloschak, Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory Nanotechnology may help overcome current limitations of gene therapy "Scientists from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory have created a hybrid 'nanodevice' composed of a "scaffolding" of titanium oxide nanocrystals attached with snippets of DNA that may one day be used to target defective genes that play a role in cancer, neurological disease and other conditions."

TARGETED ANTIBIOTIC
Lon Wilson, Rice University Rice uses buckyballs to reinvent 'antibiotic of last resort' "Rice University chemists hope a new variant of vancomycin that contains buckyballs -- tiny cage-shaped molecules of pure carbon -- could become the world's first targeted antibiotic, creating a new line of defense against bioweapons like anthrax. 'Having the ability to target antibiotics to attack specific bacterial antigens opens the door for treatments that simply aren't available today,' said Rice Chemistry Professor Lon Wilson. 'For example, we believe it's feasible to create a C60-vancomycin conjugate that attaches to anthrax while it is still in the spore form.'"

DIAGNOSIS
Jun Li, NASA Ames Research Center, and spin-off Integrated Nanosystems Carbon nanotube array senses DNA "Scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center, US, have developed an array of multiwalled carbon nanotubes that can detect low levels of DNA. An array just 20 µm square can detect less than one million copies of target oligonucleotide, a sensitivity that is comparable to laser-based fluorescence techniques. Ultimately, the team hopes to lower the detection limit to thousands of target DNAs."

CANCER
Martin Garnett, University of Nottingham Nanotechnology offers hope for brain tumours "Researchers from the University of Nottingham are now developing nanoparticles containing anti-cancer molecules that can only get out of the bloodstream at the tumour and the liver, thus preventing toxicity in other tissues in the body."

CANCER
American Pharmaceutical Partners APP Announces Positive Results in Phase II Trial in Head and Neck Cancer Patients and in Patients With Cancers of the Pelvis "Following the intra-arterial administration of ABI-007 at an average dose of 150 mg/m2 every 3 weeks in patients with head and neck cancer, a response rate was noted in 76% of patients -- 56% achieved a partial response (reduction of tumor size by at least 50%) and 20% achieved a complete response (clinically undetectable tumor)."

CANCER & HEART DISEASE
Gregory Lanza, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis 'Nano-targeting' cancer and heart disease "Like mix-and-match facial features on a Mr. Potato Head, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a way to load microscopic particles, called nanoparticles, with a variety of useful things, including drugs. The technology may allow them to send imaging agents and medications directly to specific cells."

SARS
National Taiwan University College of Medicine (NTUCM) and its collaborator Tyson Bioresearch Two new SARS diagnostic tests pending approval from DOH "Two leading universities announced yesterday they have developed two diagnostic test strips for severe acute respiratory syndrome, which are both 95 percent accurate. Both need just a drop of blood to find out the presence of the SARS virus. The technique can be used to detect antibodies against the coronavirus inside patients for 10 to 21 days after they have developed SARS symptoms."

CANCER & DIAGNOSIS
Watt Webb, Cornell University Quantum dots boost tissue imaging "An ultra-high resolution technique for imaging living tissue has just got better, thanks to the addition of tiny nanocrystals called quantum dots. Researchers ultimately hope to use the technique to probe ovarian tumours and other types of cancer deep in the body."

    And 3-D imaging inside living organism, using quantum dots coursing through mouse's body, reported by Cornell researchers. "Tiny blood vessels, viewed beneath a mouse's skin with a newly developed application of multiphoton microscopy, appear so bright and vivid in high-resolution images that researchers can see the vessel walls ripple with each heartbeat -- 640 times a minute. The capillaries are illuminated in unprecedented detail using fluorescence imaging labels, which are molecule-size nanocrystals called quantum dots circulating through the bloodstream. Quantum dots are microscopic metal or semiconductor boxes (in this case cadmium selenide-zinc sulfide) that hold a certain number of electrons and, thus, have a wide number of potential applications in electronics and photonics."

CANCER
Indrajit Roy, Paras Prasad, University at Bullalo UB scientists develop non-release nanoparticle to deliver photodynamic cancer therapy "Scientists at UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, working with colleagues at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), have developed a non-release, nanoparticle drug delivery system for photodynamic cancer therapy. According to the researchers, because the ceramic-based nanoparticle developed at the university never releases photosensitizing drug into the bloodstream, it could overcome the main side effect associated with photodynamic cancer therapy (PDT): the patient's strong sensitivity to light for four to six weeks after treatment."

TREATMENT
Cui Fuzhai, Tsinghua University Chinese researcher ready to 'bring nano bones to the world.' "Cui Fuzhai and his team of researchers have successfully implanted nano bones in dozens of patients and he hopes that the technology will be commercialized soon. 'I hope to bring nano bones to the world,' Cui said. The nano bone material is inserted where the bone needs to heal. The critical material is calcium phosphorus, which is reduced to 30 nanometers in thickness and 60 nanometers in width. At this size, the properties of calcium phosphorus change. 'On a large scale (the calcium phosphorus) won’t degrade, but on a nanoscale it will,' Cui said."

TREATMENT
Mohammad Kaazempur-Mofrad, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard Medical School Nanotechnology may create new organs "Scientists have built a minute, functioning vascular system - the branching network of blood vessels which supply nutrients and oxygen to tissues - in a significant step towards building whole organs. 'So in the next 10-15 years, we will hopefully have reached a point where we can do this procedure clinically in human patients,' Kaazempur-Mofrad added."

CANCER
Nicholas Peppas and Jay Blanchette, University of Texas UT researchers discover potential cancer treatment weapon "Tiny pills, or nanospheres, loaded with chemotheraphy drugs might become a powerful weapon against cancer, two University of Texas biomedical engineers reported."

DIAGNOSIS
Fraunhofer Institute Protein-binding nanoparticles simplify MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry "At the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, Germany, a new type of protein chip is being developed based on protein-binding silica-nanoparticles. The surface of this minute particle with a diameter of less than one ten thousandth of a millimeter can be configured with many different capture proteins. The particles configured in this way are then applied to silicon carriers in thin, even layers. After contact is made with a sample, the chips can be analyzed using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Knowing the masses of the bound proteins provides a direct indication of their identity."

DIAGNOSIS
Manuel Perez, Harvard Medical School Nanoparticles to pinpoint viruses in body scans "An injection of magnetic nanoparticles into your bloodstream could reveal precisely where harmful viruses are lurking. The particles are coated with antibodies to a particular virus, so they will form clumps that should be visible on conventional body scans if that virus is present. The team working on the technology, from the Harvard Medical School's Center for Molecular Imaging Research in Charlestown, Massachusetts, have already managed to detect viruses in body fluids and tissue samples. They hope to be able to detect viruses in patients' bodies within a couple of years."

DIAGNOSIS
Brahim Lounis, University of Bordeaux Gold lights up biological cells "Brahim Lounis and colleagues at the University of Bordeaux in France have developed a new way of visualizing proteins in cells by labelling them with gold nanoparticles. The all-optical method is highly sensitive and allows 3-D imaging of molecules while overcoming many of the disadvantages of traditional techniques. It could help researchers image proteins efficiently and non-destructively, and might also be extended to other biological systems such as DNA."

DRUG DELIVERY
Justin Hanes, Johns Hopkins Making Tiny Plastic Particles to Deliver Lifesaving Medicine " Many medications such as therapeutic DNA, insulin and human growth hormone must enter the body through painful injections, but a Johns Hopkins researcher is seeking to deliver the same treatment without the sting. Justin Hanes wants to pack the drugs inside microscopic plastic spheres that can be inhaled painlessly. Inside the lungs, the particles should dissolve harmlessly, releasing the medicine at a predetermined pace. "We've made significant progress," said Hanes."

DRUG DELIVERY
Edward Turos, University of South Florida USF makes breakthrough in 'nano' research "University of South Florida chemists who recently patented a new class of synthetic antibiotics for killing drug-resistant bacteria have developed a tiny new technology to deliver the drugs to their targets. Using nanotechnology the antibiotics now can ride into bacteria cells on nano-sized, spherical vehicles one-millionth the size of a pinhead. The technology allows patients with serious hospital infections to be treated with much smaller doses of a drug, stated Edward Turos, a professor in USF's department of chemistry."

HIV
Starpharma Pooled Development Clinical trials put dendrimers on course for treating HIV "They might be nano’s artificial molecule, but dendrimers are taking real steps toward fighting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases in women. Starpharma Pooled Development Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, gained approval in July from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start human trials of VivaGel, a dendrimer-based topical gel designed to prevent or reduce disease transmission during sexual intercourse. It’s the first dendrimer – and defined nanostructure – cleared for clinical testing, according to John Raff, Starpharma’s chief executive."


Nanomedicine: Basic Capabilities, Vol. 1
Robert A. Freitas Jr. 1999
Reviews

Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility
Robert A. Freitas Jr. October 2003


See also Nanomedicine Taxonomy for an overview.

DIABETES
Patrick Grant and Quincy Brown, Louisiana Tech La. Tech researches 'smart tattoo' to benefit diabetics "If tests run true, then one day diabetics may never have to prick their fingers to test their blood sugar. Students at Louisiana Tech University's Institute for Micromanufacturing think they can create a "smart tattoo" that will enable diabetics to use light to measure their blood sugar rates. The tattoo part comes from an individual having nano particles injected into the skin. A spectrometer using special, filtered light would activate the nanoparticles, and a readout on a spectrometer would indicate blood sugar levels."

DIAGNOSIS
Nanosphere, Argonne National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Protein chips could detect cancer earlier "Biochip development, which peaked two years ago during the national anthrax scare, has begun paying unexpected dividends, as research work in the area yields a new breed of "protein chips" that could aid in the early detection of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and HIV. Researchers at a nanotechnology startup have taken a step toward commercializing the technology by licensing a protein-chip-based detection system from Northwestern University. Nanosphere Inc. (Northbrook, Ill.), which hopes to integrate the system into desktop products within a year, said the technology exhibits about 1 million times more sensitivity than conventional methods in the detection of prostate-specific antigen, a protein linked to prostate cancer."

DIABETES
Gao Zhiqiang, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Researchers provide simple solution to familiar problem faced by diabetics "Any diabetic will probably tell you that drawing blood for repeated glucose tests is a painful affair. The Institute's Principal Research Scientist, Dr Gao Zhiqiang said: 'Fingertips have nerves and capillaries. You may get one big drop of blood but it's very painful. If you move away, less blood is needed and not so painful.' So, researchers have now come up with a simple solution by using nanotechnology to develop smaller test strips - far less painful and more accurate results."

CANCER
Vladimir Zharov, University of Arkansas Doctor Tests Gold in Fighting Cancer "An Arkansas doctor is trying to find a safe and efficient way to target cancerous cells using flecks of gold that are only nanometers wide. It could set a new standard for breast cancer therapy. The concept is still unproven, but preliminary tests have shown the gold "nanoparticles" could interact with laser radiation to destroy only the targeted cells, without collateral damage to healthy cells, Dr. Vladimir Zharov, a biomedical engineer and director of laser research at the University of Arkansas, said."

TREATMENT
Thomas Webster and Jeremiah Ejiofor, Purdue University Metal nano-bumps could improve artificial body parts "Biomedical engineers at Purdue University have proven that bone cells attach better to metals with nanometer-scale surface features, offering hope for improved prosthetic hips, knees and other implants. Webster has demonstrated that human bone cells called osteoblasts generate about 60 percent more new cells when they are exposed to a titanium alloy that contains nanometer-scale features, compared to the same alloy containing micron-size surface bumps. Because bone and other tissues adhere to artificial body parts by growing new cells that attach to the implants, the experiments offer hope in developing longer lasting and more natural implants, he said."

ASTHMA
Shyam S. Mohapatra, University of South Florida Novel Gene Therapy Effectively Reduces Asthma Symptoms in Mice "A novel nasal spray containing minuscule particles that deliver therapeutic protein-producing genes effectively reduces allergen-induced airway inflammation and hyper-reactivity, the hallmark symptoms of asthma. 'This method has potential to help alter immune response, so that the treatment may only need to be administered once a week rather than several times daily like current asthma treatments.' Dr. Mohapatra said."

DIAGNOSIS
James Heath, California Institute of Technology, and UCLA and the Institute for Systems Biology Nano chip aims to test cells at molecular level in real time "Seven researchers are tapping nanotechnology to deliver a device that could some day conduct as many as many as 2,000 tests on individual biological cells in real time. The so-called nanolab chip could leapfrog today's gene and protein microarrays to create a much faster and more granular device than exists today for early diagnosis and drug screening."

DIABETES
Deakin University and Eiffel Technologies Breakthrough for diabetes sufferers a breath away "Sufferers of type two diabetes may soon be able to inhale their treatment, rather than inject it, thanks to Melbourne researchers. The researchers have re-engineered the insulin molecule. They have shrunk it and improved its ability to be absorbed by the human body. In independent trials on rats at Deakin University, the re-engineered molecule lasted longer and worked more quickly than current pharmacy-grade insulin. Most important, according to the researchers, is the finding that the new insulin was more effective in lowering blood sugar levels than the insulin available today. This meant that lower doses of insulin may be needed by patients with diabetes, they said. Because it worked more quickly, it could be important in diabetic emergencies, when insulin was needed fast."

DIAGNOSIS
Charles Lieber, Harvard Tiny nanowire could be next big diagnostic tool for doctors "What one could imagine," says Lieber, "is to go into your doctor's office, give a drop of blood from a pin prick on your finger, and within minutes, find out whether you have a particular virus, a genetic disease, or your risk for different diseases or drug interactions."

TREATMENT
Alberto Bianco, CNRS Institute Carbon nanotubes show drug delivery promise "In principle, a wide range of different molecules could be attached to the nanotubes, raising the possibility of an easily customised way of ferrying molecules into cells."

TREATMENT
Michael Kaminski and Axel Rosengart, Argonne National Laboratory Ironing Out Blood Impurities "Magnetized nanoparticles may one day be the treatment of choice for people needing to detox -- whether they be a soldier in the field contaminated by anthrax or a civilian who has partied way too hard and is suffering from a drug overdose."

TREATMENT
Purdue University Body Handles Nanofiber Better "Researchers from Purdue University have made a discovery that may help: carbon nanofibers are surprisingly compatible with human tissue. The material could eventually be used to create better bone and neural implants."

TREATMENT
Albena Ivanisevic, Purdue University, and Nicole Onyenenho, University of Maryland Nanofabrication achieved on a biological substrate "... a process in which amino acid-based nanostructures were assembled on retinal tissue. The structures might be useful to surgeons trying to correct blindness caused by macular degeneration."

TREATMENT
Tom Webster, Purdue University Nanofibre composites could suit brain implants "Webster says the composite materials could eventually be used as orthopaedic coatings that would enhance new bone growth to fix the implant in situ quickly. The materials could also have applications as neural implants, such as in probes that monitor or regenerate neural tissue electrical activity in damaged areas of the brain."

DIAGNOSIS
Jwa-Min Nam, Dimitra Georganopoulou and Savka Stoeva, Northwestern University Tiny particles just might save your life "The three young researchers at Northwestern University have taught atoms to sniff out a disease and bark like hound dogs when they find it. Today they're trying to isolate the "scent" of Alzheimer's disease."

DIAGNOSIS
Hitachi's Advanced Research Laboratory (ARL) Hitachi set to plant its own 'nanostamp' on the medical market "Hitachi's process creates "nanopillars" with extremely high aspect ratios (narrow relative to height), a feature that the company believes will prove useful for biochips and other applications, according to Akihiro Miyauchi, a senior researcher at Hitachi."

TREATMENT
Michael Kaminski, Argonne National Laboratory, and Axel Rosengart, University of Chicago Nanoparticles eyed as biohazard treatment "Nanoparticles may someday come to the rescue of people exposed to chemical, biological or radiological hazards. Argonne researchers are in the early testing stages of a system that would cleanse the blood of contaminants using tiny magnetic particles and a portable, external magnetic separator."

CANCER
Cardiff University Centre for Polymer Therapeutics Cardiff University is creating designer molecules against cancer "Welsh researchers are working on developing ultrasmall nanoparticles to tackle breast and prostate cancers more effectively. It could allow higher doses of more toxic drugs to be used without fear that widespread damage to tissues will be caused."

DIAGNOSIS
Biophan Technologies Biophan Technologies Announces Nanoview Technology "NanoView is intended to utilize nanomagnetic particles as contrast agents that preferentially bind to tissues of diagnostic interest, creating improved detail and contrast in images. If successful, this technology would improve signal intensity and permit the use of multiple markers."

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Eric Mazur, Harvard University Lasers operate inside single cells "With pulses of intense laser light a millionth of a billionth of a second long, US researchers are vaporizing tiny structures inside living cells without killing them. The technique could help probe how cells work, and perform super-precise surgery."

TREATMENT
Vladimir Mironov, Medical University of South Carolina, and Thomas Boland, Clemson University Ink-jet printing creates tubes of living tissue "Three-dimensional tubes of living tissue have been printed using modified desktop printers filled with suspensions of cells instead of ink. The work is a first step towards printing complex tissues or even entire organs. 'This could have the same kind of impact that Gutenberg's press did,' claims tissue engineer Vladimir Mironov of the Medical University of South Carolina. By printing alternate layers of the gel and clumps of cells onto glass slides, they have shown 3D structures such as tubes can be built up. Like printing with different colours, placing different types of cells in the ink cartridges should make it possible to recreate complex structures consisting of multiple cell types."

TREATMENT
Gary Bowlin, Virginia Commonwealth University Researchers develop 'natural bandages' that mimic body's healing process "With the same compound the body uses to clot blood, scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University have created a nano-fiber mat that could eventually become a "natural bandage." Spun from strands of fibrinogen 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, the fabric could be placed on a wound and never taken off - minimizing blood loss and encouraging the natural healing process. The researchers have successfully made the mats in a wide range of sizes using this technique. The texture of the material is akin to that of a flannel shirt, Bowlin says. They have also used electrospinning to make synthetic blood vessels from collagen that are six times smaller than those available to doctors now. These are just two of the many potential applications for this technology, according to Gary Bowlin, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering at VCU."

DRUG DELIVERY
Dusica Maysinger, McGill University Nanocontainers deliver on drugs "'Our interest is in controlling and directing the delivery of drugs at the sub-cellular level,' Dusica Maysinger of McGill told nanotechweb.org. 'The applications of our micelles are geared towards the local delivery of immunosupressants in transplantations of islets of Langerhans (pancreatic tissue) in diabetes, as well as the delivery of anticancer agents, and androgens and oestrogens in hormonal disorders.' said Maysinger."

DRUG DELIVERY
    And Coatings and arrays help put medication where it's needed. "Researchers at McGill University in Montreal recently created a “nanopill” from two polymer molecules – one water-repellant, the other hydrophobic – that self-assemble into a sphere called a micelle. In tests, the 20-45 nanometer structures were small enough to pass through the wall of an animal cell and deliver their cargo of drugs to specific structures within the cell."

DIAGNOSIS
Raul Radovitzky, MIT, and Mark Paul and Michael Cross, Caltech Nanostructures eyed to identify biomolecules "MIT's Raul Radovitzky is working on numerical methods for simulating cantilever response on supercomputers, while Mark Paul and Michael Cross at Caltech are studying the interface between biological and physical systems as part of the Caltech Initiative in Computational Molecular Biology."

MISCELLANEOUS
Science Magazine Recognizes Quantum Dot Research as One of the Top Ten Scientific Breakthroughs of the Year "Premiere scientific research journal Science Magazine has named quantum dot bio-imaging technology one of the top 10 scientific breakthroughs of the year. The magazine described the breakthrough as '...the most exciting new technique to emerge from the collaboration of physicists and biologists.'"

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