Originally posted by Jack Hidary on his LinkedIn account:
3/ A third approach that has yet to reach the clinic, but will in the next 5 years is nanomedicine. There are a number of funded companies working on nanomedical devices such as one which can sop up a decoy chemical produced by tumors to hide from the body’s immune system. These are not pharmacological agents, but instead act in a machine-like manner to help the body fight cancer.
Image Source: nano.cancer.gov
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Photothermal desorption of molecules from plasmonic nanoparticles is an example of a light-triggered molecular release due to heating of the system. However, this phenomenon ought to work only if the molecule–nanoparticle interaction is exothermic in nature. In this study, we compare protein adsorption behavior onto gold nanoparticles for both endothermic and exothermic complexation reactions, and demonstrate that Le Chatelier’s principle can be applied to predict protein adsorption or desorption on nanomaterial surfaces. Polyelectrolyte-wrapped gold nanorods were used as adsorption platforms for two different proteins, which we were able to adsorb/desorb from the nanorod surface depending on the thermodynamics of their interactions. Furthermore, we show that the behaviors hold up under more complex biological environments such as fetal bovine serum.
A team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has launched a new challenge for the online computer game Eterna in which players are being asked to design an RNA molecule capable of acting as an on/off switch for the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9.
Molecular biologists will then build and test the actual molecules, based on the most promising designs provided by the players.
A gene editor as powerful as CRISPR could have unexpected effects inside living cells, so it makes sense to turn it off when it’s not needed. In addition, an on/off switch might be able to put CRISPR-influenced genes on a sort of timer, activating and deactivating them on a schedule that could mimic the way we schedule taking doses of drugs.
Faking cellular suicide could help control inflammation
And that could help treat everything from hay fever to arthritis
AS PARACELSUS first pointed out in the 16th century, it is the dose that makes the poison. Inflammation, in particular, is vital to fighting infection or healing wounds. If it lingers, however, it can cause more harm than good. Chronic inflammation often impedes the very healing that it is meant to promote. Many drugs have been invented to combat that problem, but none is as effective as doctors would like. Now, as they describe in a paper in ACS Macro Letters, a team led by Mitsuhiro Ebara at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan have come up with a new approach. They have worked out how to persuade cells in inflamed tissues to believe that other cells nearby have just committed suicide. REST
Bio-inspired approach to RNA delivery
By delivering strands of genetic material known as messenger RNA (mRNA) into cells, researchers can induce the cells to produce any protein encoded by the mRNA. This technique holds great potential for administering vaccines or treating diseases such as cancer, but achieving efficient delivery of mRNA has proven challenging.
Now, a team of MIT chemical engineers, inspired by the way that cells translate their own mRNA into proteins, has designed a synthetic delivery system that is four times more effective than delivering mRNA on its own. REST
An easy to use, low-cost ‘NLISA’ platform for detecting biological signatures could shake up the way we monitor our health
By Kat J. McAlpine, Boston Children’s Hospital
(BOSTON) – Engineered strands of DNA — nanoscale tools called “nanoswitches” — could be the key to faster, easier, cheaper and more sensitive tests that can enable high-fidelity detection of biomarkers indicating the presence of different diseases, viral strains and even genetic variabilities as subtle as a single-gene mutation.
“One critical application in both basic research and clinical practice is the detection of biomarkers in our bodies, which convey vital information about our current health,” says Wesley Wong, PhD. “However, current methods tend to be either cheap and easy or highly sensitive, but generally not both.”
“We know that disease has a pattern of molecules in the breath. If you can detect these molecules, then you can associate them with a given disease. Dogs have a very sophisticated olfactory system; it’s 10,000 times more sensitive than ours. The Nanose started out as an idea to try to imitate the olfactory system of the dog – exactly on the same principles – and to make real-world applications with it. One of these applications is to smell disease through the breath.
“In our lab, we take the two main parts of the dog’s olfactory system, the receptors and the brain, and try to imitate them in an electrical way, using nanotechnology. The ultimate device is known as the Nano-Artificial Nose—the Nanose. Rest
Today networks of smart devices have already transformed our world, and we’re just starting to connect our bodies to them in meaningful ways. We see signs that we might be able to create new bio-based networks inside our own bodies and manipulate the ones already there.
As molecular biology, nanoscale engineering and robotics converge, we may be able to use microscopic robots to target specific interactions among many natural nanoscale processes within our bodies’ cells.
In the next few decades, communication technology could take on a whole new meaning, as we gain the ability to coordinate interactions among these tiny bio-nanobots and natural human bio-electrical functions.
IFTF researcher Michael Liebhold spoke with Dr. Ian Akyildiz, a preeminent researcher in nanoscale networks. A professor at Georgia Institute of Technology and founder of the Nano Communications Center, Dr. Akyildiz has established several highly regarded research centers. Rest
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a molecular switch that converts skin cells into cells that make up blood vessels, which could ultimately be used to repair damaged vessels in patients with heart disease or to engineer new vasculature in the lab. The technique, which boosts levels of an enzyme that keeps cells young, may also circumvent the usual aging that cells undergo during the culturing process. Their findings are reported in the journal Circulation. Rest – April 6, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Twist Bioscience, a company accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis, today announced Microsoft Corp. will purchase ten million strands of DNA from Twist Bioscience for expanded digital data storage research. The strands of DNA will be long-chain oligonucleotides used by researchers at Microsoft and the University of Washington to encode digital data at higher density. After working together for over a year, the organizations have improved storage density, thereby reducing the cost of DNA digital data storage by encoding more data per strand and increasing the throughput of DNA production. Rest
Prestigious Japan Prize goes to Max Planck scientist for a third time
February 06, 2017 – It is often referred to as the Japanese Nobel Prize: 88 prize winners from 13 countries have received it since it was awarded for the first time in 1985 – including many later Nobel Prize Laureates. Emmanuelle Charpentier from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, and Jennifer A. Doudna from the University of California, Berkeley, receive this year’s Japan Prize for the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique, a type of very efficient genetic ‘scissors’. Adi Shamir, from the Weizmann Institute, Israel, is honoured for his pioneering research on cryptography. The award ceremony will take place on April 19 at the National Theater in Tokyo. Rest