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Fantastic Voyage: Nanomotors are inserted and controlled, for the first time, inside living cells

Fantastic Voyage: Nanomotors are inserted and controlled, for the first time, inside living cells | Sciences & Technology |

For the first time anywhere, a team of chemists and engineers at Penn State has placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells, propelled them with ultrasonic waves and steered them magnetically. It's not exactly "Fantastic Voyage," but it's close. The nanomotors, which are rocket-shaped metal particles, move around inside the cells, spinning and battering against the cell membrane.


"As these nanomotors move around and bump into structures inside the cells, the live cells show internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before," said Tom Mallouk, Evan Pugh Professor of Materials Chemistry and Physics. "This research is a vivid demonstration that it may be possible to use synthetic nanomotors to study cell biology in new ways. We might be able to use nanomotors to treat cancer and other diseases by mechanically manipulating cells from the inside. Nanomotors could perform intracellular surgery and deliver drugs noninvasively to living tissues."


Up until now, Mallouk said, nanomotors have been studied only "in vitro" in a laboratory apparatus, not in living human cells. Chemically powered nanomotors were first developed 10 years ago at Penn State by a team that included chemist Ayusman Sen and physicist Vincent Crespi, in addition to Mallouk.


"Our first-generation motors required toxic fuels and they would not move in biological fluid, so we couldn't study them in human cells," Mallouk said. "That limitation was a serious problem." When Mallouk and French physicist Mauricio Hoyos discovered that nanomotors could be powered by ultrasonic waves, the door was open to studying the motors in living systems.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Lynnette Van Dyke
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EHP – Nano GO Consortium—A Team Science Approach to Assess Engineered Nanomaterials: Reliable Assays and Methods

EHP – Nano GO Consortium—A Team Science Approach to Assess Engineered Nanomaterials: Reliable Assays and Methods | Sciences & Technology |

"Two articles in this issue of Environmental Health Perspectives—Xia et al. (2013) and Bonner et al. (2013)—report results of a unique collaborative approach to environmental health research. The consortium behind these studies (the Nano GO Consortium), which is developing standardized methods for assessing the health and safety implications of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), represents a new model of shared science that may offer lessons for other emerging and fast-evolving areas of research.


ENMs (man-made particles with any external dimension between 1 and 100 nm) have enabled considerable advances in electronics, drugs and medical devices, environmental remediation, and many other areas (Kessler 2011). They are fast becoming ubiquitous in products such as sunscreens, cosmetics, clothing, and building materials. Global demand for nanomaterials and nanoenabled devices is expected to approach $3.1 trillion by 2015 (Marquis et al. 2009)."


Via : Environ Health Perspect 121(2013). [online 06 May 2013]

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A Scientist Predicts the Future

A Scientist Predicts the Future | Sciences & Technology |

When making predictions, I have two criteria: the laws of physics must be obeyed and prototypes must exist that demonstrate “proof of principle.” I’ve interviewed more than 300 of the world’s top scientists, and many allowed me into laboratories where they are inventing the future. Their accomplishments and dreams are eye-opening. From my conversations with them, here’s a glimpse of what to expect in the coming decades:

Via Pierre Tran
Teresa Lima's curator insight, January 10, 2014 4:38 AM


I think the future is unpredictable, and no one  can predict the future!

Carlos Polaino Jiménez's curator insight, January 16, 2014 7:38 AM

Predicción científica del futuro, esto es un tema a leer por lo menos.

Jesús Martinez's curator insight, January 18, 2014 8:07 AM

add your insight...

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L'informatique photonique se rapproche

L'informatique photonique se rapproche | Sciences & Technology |
Des chercheurs de l’Université de Pennsylvanie ont conçu le premier interrupteur optique utilisant uniquement des nanofils photoniques en sulfure de cadmium. Ils ont combiné ces interrupteurs pour créer une porte NON-ET.
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