ASU, IBM collaboration on DNA sequencing

A team of scientists from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center have developed a prototype DNA reader that could make whole genome profiling an everyday practice in medicine.  “Our goal is to put cheap, simple and powerful DNA and protein diagnostic devices into every single doctor’s office,” said Stuart Lindsay, an ASU physics professor and director of Biodesign’s Center for Single Molecule Biophysics. Such technology could help usher in the age of personalized medicine, where information from an individual’s complete DNA and protein profiles could be used to design treatments specific to their individual makeup.  Link

Protons fuel graphene prospects

26 Nov 2014 – Graphene, impermeable to all gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it, University of Manchester researchers have found.

Graphene allows protons to pass through it, contrary to previous thinking
Graphene allows protons to pass through it, contrary to previous thinking

Published in the journal Nature, the discovery could revolutionise fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons – hydrogen atoms stripped off their electrons – to pass through.

In addition, graphene membranes could be used to sieve hydrogen gas out of the atmosphere, where it is present in minute quantities, creating the possibility of electric generators powered by air.  Rest

Biological Circuits

A team led by ETH Professor Yaakov Benenson has developed several new components for biological circuits. These components are key building blocks for constructing precisely functioning and programmable bio-computers.

Symbolbild Biocomputer
Researchers are expanding the applicability of biological circuits. Background: Microscopic image of human kidney cells with fluorescent proteins in cell culture. (Photo: Montage / iStock)

Bio-engineers are working on the development of biological computers with the aim of designing small circuits made from biological material that can be integrated into cells to change their functions. In the future, such developments could enable cancer cells to be reprogrammed, thereby preventing them from dividing at an uncontrollable rate. Stem cells could likewise be reprogrammed into differentiated organ cells.  Rest

DNA Wire

The promise of molecular electronics gets hoisted up the flagpole periodically, but now an international team of researchers based out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem claim to have made a breakthrough with DNA molecules that they believe may be the most significant development in the last decade of molecular electronics research.

In research published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a international group of researchers hailing from Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Spain and the United States has demonstrated that electric current can be transmitted through long DNA molecules. They believe that this demonstration could lead to the development of DNA-based electronic circuits.  Rest

BioNano Cancer Bombs

Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale “cocoons” made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing anticancer drugs. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This drug delivery system is DNA-based, which means it is biocompatible and less toxic to patients than systems that use synthetic materials,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, senior author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC Chapel Hill.

The nano-cocoon has ligands on its surface that bind to receptors on the surface of cancer cells. Image courtesy of Zhen Gu. Click to enlarge.

“This technique also specifically targets cancer cells, can carry a large drug load and releases the drugs very quickly once inside the cancer cell,” Gu says.  Link

Australian Research Council goes Bio-Nano with $26M/7 yrs

MEDIA RELEASE:  Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Professor Aidan Byrne, has today officially opened the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology at Monash University in Melbourne.

Professor Byrne opened the Centre on behalf of the Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, and said it would be the focus of bio-nano research activity in Australia.

“Nanomedicines are on the cusp of revolutionising diagnosis and therapy in many diseases; the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology comprises a multi-disciplinary team focused on understanding and controlling the interface of materials with biological systems.

“The expected outcomes through research at this Centre are better diagnostic and therapeutic tools that are designed via an enhanced understanding of the bio-nano interface.  rest

Rapid molecular testing is the future

WALTHAM, Mass., June 16, 2014 – Alere Inc. (NYSE: ALR), a leading global provider of point-of-care rapid diagnostic and health information solutions, today announced that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Alere™ i Influenza A & B test, the first and only molecular test to detect and differentiate influenza A and B virus in less than 15 minutes.  …

Molecular testing involves the extraction and analysis of DNA or RNA strands to detect sequences associated with viral and bacterial causes of infections. Alere i Influenza A & B is the first molecular diagnostic test that delivers actionable, lab-accurate results in less than 15 minutes on a user-friendly platform. Unlike polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, Alere’s proprietary Molecular. In Minutes™ (MIM) isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology (iNAT) does not require lengthy and complex thermo cycling or DNA purification, and can therefore deliver PCR-caliber results more quickly – and in a broad range of settings. Alere i tests for Strep A, C. difficile, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and chlamydia / gonorrhea are currently in development.  The complete press release can be found here.