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April 19th, 2007

Future Scientists Make Waves

REBECCA AND CLASSMATE Rhitwika Sensharma created a cure for cancer using nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is "the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly one to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications," according to the federal National Nanotechnology Initiative program. Since it is such a new way of thinking, said Rebecca, the girls are optimistic about its capability.

Their design, called "Project Sentinel," uses the technology in a bracelet. Rhitwika said a button on the bracelet would send out a type of nano machine that would then spread radioactive particles and produce an image. A negative signal means the cell isn't cancerous. The technology would be able to kill cancerous cells, which would then regenerate as healthy cells.

"It's like a database of cancer cells," said Rebecca. "We were trying to find something innovative."
Another winning idea was a "nano pill," which came from the current camera pill — an ingestible video camera that produces digital images of the small intestine. The nano pill essentially uses radioactive dye to mark the spot on a person where a doctor needs to make a surgical incision, after it performs the same tasks as the camera pill. The inventors, Becky Peng and Rachel Song, also used nanotechnology, since it allowed them to make the nano pill much smaller than the camera pill.


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