Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Revolutionising diagnostics with some help from nature

Scientists question how humans' complex organisms, tools and systems work
© Shutterstock
Scientists question how humans' complex organisms, tools and systems work © Shutterstock

Abstract:
Scientists from the EU-funded RECEPTRONICS project are turning to nature, and combining what they learn with the latest in nanotechnology, to find new ways of diagnosing cancer. The project, funded by the EU with EUR 1.99 million, brings together experts in the fields of biochemistry, bioengineering, nanotechnology and information technology.

Revolutionising diagnostics with some help from nature

Europe | Posted on December 23rd, 2008

As the old saying goes, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Taking this to heart, scientists are borrowing a page from nature and are finding new ways of applying the way nature performs diagnoses to modern medicinal applications.

RECEPTRONICS project coordinator Professor Marco Tartagni of the University of Bologna (Italy) explains, 'The idea is to use bioengineering to harness the natural biological process for molecule recognition, and to put it together with state-of-the-art electronics.'

While the three-year project officially ended in September 2008, the partners are so enthused by the results they have already achieved that they have agreed to self-fund at least another year of working together.

According to the scientists, evolution has already provided the human body with a whole suite of tools that it can use to diagnose sickness. When the body contracts a cold or the flu, this is accompanied by a sore throat and a runny nose, for example. This is the body's way of telling us that we have the flu. A blocked nose is also an indication that the body is fighting back and already winning the battle. How this works, however, is extremely complicated, involving complex organisms, tools and systems which scientists are still struggling to understand, and hopefully one day, emulate.

RECEPTRONICS aims to develop a revolutionary new hybrid technology that will offer the possibility of detecting diseases right at inception. Hopefully within a few years they will have developed the technology which will enable every doctor's surgery to have a small, inexpensive device that can test blood on the spot and warn of impending illness before any symptoms become apparent.

At the heart of the process is molecule recognition, a process that a healthy human body performs continually. For medical purposes, the type of molecule which needs to be recognised is called a biomarker, and its presence can indicate a disease is starting well before there are any other symptoms. In order to recognise biomolecules, nature has developed receptors, which are mirror images of the molecules being sensed. Every single type of biomolecule has its own receptor in nature.

Professor Tartagni explains how their technology works: 'The front end of the system is composed of bioengineered receptors that are very similar to those generated by nature and specifically designed to target molecules, put together with man-made microelectronic systems at the back end. The results are very promising and we could soon unveil the best and most precise method ever developed of sensing single molecules.'

Professor Tartagni points out it could be months or even years after the first biomarkers have appeared before full-blown cancer develops. 'What is needed is a very smart sensor which can precisely detect concentrations of a wide range of molecules, and the only way to get the required precision is to count molecules one by one. Nature has developed a way to do this, and we are trying to do exactly what nature does,' he says.

'We have pioneered techniques which are working very well, and we now need to tie them together. We are working on a compact and affordable point-of-care biomarker detection device which can be made commercially available,' he says.

It is no exaggeration to say the techniques developed by the RECEPTRONICS researchers could truly revolutionise both diagnostics and the development of new medicines.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © European Commission

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Bruker Announces Acquisition of Nanoindenting Leader Hysitron: Acquisition strengthens Brukerís leading position in nanoanalysis and nanomechanical materials characterization January 24th, 2017

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

News from Quorum: Experienced electron microscopist, David McCarthy, talks about working with Quorum and his use of their coaters and cryo-SEM preparation instrumentation January 24th, 2017

Tough aqua material for water purification: Decontamination of water with a robust and sustainable membrane assembled from 2 synergistically working components January 24th, 2017

Biomimetics

Nanoribbons in solutions mimic nature: Rice University scientists test graphene ribbons' abilities to integrate with biological systems August 15th, 2016

IEEE ROBIO 2015 Call for Papers: 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics - December 6-9, 2015, Zhuhai, China July 19th, 2015

Biomimetic dew harvesters: Understanding how a desert beetle harvests water from dew could improve drinking water collection in dew condensers December 8th, 2014

Peptoid Nanosheets at the Oil/Water Interface: Berkeley Lab Reports New Route to Novel Family of Biomimetic Materials September 3rd, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

Traffic jam in empty space: New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum January 22nd, 2017

A toolkit for transformable materials: How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function January 20th, 2017

Nanomedicine

New, old science combine to make faster medical test: Nanoparticles and Faraday rotation allow faster diagnoses January 23rd, 2017

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Sensors

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Discoveries

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

Tough aqua material for water purification: Decontamination of water with a robust and sustainable membrane assembled from 2 synergistically working components January 24th, 2017

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

New, old science combine to make faster medical test: Nanoparticles and Faraday rotation allow faster diagnoses January 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Bruker Announces Acquisition of Nanoindenting Leader Hysitron: Acquisition strengthens Brukerís leading position in nanoanalysis and nanomechanical materials characterization January 24th, 2017

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

News from Quorum: Experienced electron microscopist, David McCarthy, talks about working with Quorum and his use of their coaters and cryo-SEM preparation instrumentation January 24th, 2017

Tough aqua material for water purification: Decontamination of water with a robust and sustainable membrane assembled from 2 synergistically working components January 24th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project