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January 26th, 2011

Nanotechnology Gets Star Turn at Speech

Abstract:
The presence of Amy Chyao, a 16-year-old from Richardson, Tex., in Michelle Obama's box during the State of the Union speech puts a spotlight, as it were, on using nanotechnology and light to kill cancer.

Working in the laboratory of Kenneth J. Balkus, Jr., a chemistry professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, Ms. Chyao, a high school junior, synthesized a nanoparticle that is essentially is a remotely triggered bomb that attacks cancer cells.

The nanoparticles were further customized with proteins, so they would dissolve in water, and with fluorescent gold nanoparticles, so they could be tracked within the body.

The research is promising, but far from ready, not even for clinical studies. Dr. Balkus said the next step would be to put the nanoparticles into cells and see if they work as designed.

"We're at that stage," he said. "It's not exactly around the corner, but with the right level of effort and funding, we could certainly accelerate that."

Source:
nytimes.com

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