Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

Biomimetics

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

Nanoscaled Tip Writes Artificial Cell Membranes: Biomimetic Membranes on Graphene Open up Novel Applications in Biotechnology – Publication in “Nature Communications“ October 15th, 2013

2539 visits at NANOPOSTER 2013 - Summary of 3rd Virtual Nanotechnology Poster Conference September 17th, 2013

Unique shell design gives guillemot eggs an edge for living on the edge July 5th, 2013

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Scientists refine formula for nanotube types: Rice University theorists determine factors that give tubes their chiral angles September 17th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th September 18th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 2014

Sensors

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th September 18th, 2014

Nanoscience makes your wine better September 17th, 2014

Discoveries

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

CiQUS researchers design an artificial nose to detect DNA differentiation with single nucleotide resolution September 18th, 2014

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Announcements

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE