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April 17, 2014

Physicists Create New Nanoparticle for Cancer Therapy

( – A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminescent nanoparticle to use in security-related radiation detection may have instead happened upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy. Wei Chen, professor of physics and co-director of UT Arlington’s Center for Security Advances Via Applied Nanotechnology, was testing a copper-cysteamine complex created in his lab when he discovered unexplained decreases in its luminescence, or light emitting power, over a time-lapse exposure to X-rays.

Nanotechnology Researchers Produce New Anti-Cancer Drug from Turmeric

(Nanowerk News) – Nanotechnology researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University produced a new drug capable of detecting and removing cancer cells using turmeric (“Dendrosomal curcumin nanoformulation downregulates pluripotency genes via miR-145 activation in U87MG glioblastoma cells”). The compound is made of curcumin found in the extract of turmeric, and has desirable physical and chemical stability and prevents the proliferation of cancer cells.

April 16, 2014

Nano Shake-Up

(Science Codex) – Nanotechnology has unlocked new pathways for targeted drug delivery, including the use of nanocarriers, or capsules, that can transport cargoes of small-molecule therapeutics to specific locations in the body. The catch? These carriers are tiny, and it matters just how tiny they are. Change the size from 10 nanometers to 100 nanometers, and the drugs can end up in the wrong cells or organs and thereby damage healthy tissues.

April 14, 2014

ASU Leads New National Research Network to Study Impacts of Nanomaterials

( – Arizona State University researchers will lead a multi-university project to aid industry in understanding and predicting the potential health and environmental risks from nanomaterials.  Nanoparticles, which are approximately 1 to 100 nanometers in size, are used in an increasing number of consumer products to provide texture, resiliency and in some cases antibacterial protection.

April 9, 2014

New Study Suggests that Certain Nanoparticles Can Harm DNA

(Nanowerk) – Thousands of consumer products — including cosmetics, sunscreens, and clothing — contain nanoparticles added by manufacturers to improve texture, kill microbes, or enhance shelf life, among other purposes. However, several studies have shown that some of these engineered nanoparticles can be toxic to cells. A new study from MIT and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that certain nanoparticles can also harm DNA.

The Role of Magnetic Nanoparticles in Breast Cancer Treatment

(Nanowerk) – In a presentation exploring the promise of magnetic nanoparticle (mNP) hyperthermia in breast cancer treatment, Dartmouth researcher P. Jack Hoopes, DMV, PhD, reviewed preclinical studies conducted at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and discuss plans for early-phase clinical studies in humans at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  This evolving treatment approach involves the injection of nanoparticles into the tumor, which are then activated with magnetic energy. Once activated the nanoparticles produce heat inside the cancer cell. The heat kills the cancer cell with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

April 8, 2014

DNA Nanobots Deliver Drugs in Living Cockroaches

(New Scientist) – It’s a computer – inside a cockroach. Nano-sized entities made of DNA that are able to perform the same kind of logic operations as a silicon-based computer have been introduced into a living animal. The DNA computers – known as origami robots because they work by folding and unfolding strands of DNA – travel around the insect’s body and interact with each other, as well as the insect’s cells. When they uncurl, they can dispense drugs carried in their folds.

April 4, 2014

Fighting Cancer with Lasers and Nanoballoons that Pop

( – Chemotherapeutic drugs excel at fighting cancer, but they’re not so efficient at getting where they need to go. They often interact with blood, bone marrow and other healthy bodily systems. This dilutes the drugs and causes unwanted side effects. Now, researchers are developing a better delivery method by encapsulating the drugs in nanoballoons – which are tiny modified liposomes that, upon being struck by a red laser, pop open and deliver concentrated doses of medicine.

April 3, 2014

Silver Nanoparticles May Harm Humans and Wildlife

(Discovery News) – Microscopic bits of silver, known as nanoparticles, now appear as an anti-microbial ingredient in a wide variety of consumer products. However, a growing body of evidence tarnishes silver nanoparticles’ reputation. Studies published this year documented unhealthy reactions in human intestinal cells and aquatic algae after exposure to silver nanoparticles, reported Inside Science.

Smallest DNA Origami Nanorobot Yet Has a Switchable Flap

(Nanowerk) – In what is the smallest 3D DNA origami box so far, researchers in Italy have now fabricated a nanorobot with a switchable flap that, when instructed with a freely defined molecular message, can perform a specifically programmed duty. Slightly larger nanocontainers with a controllable lid have already been demonstrated by others to be suitable for the delivery of drugs or molecular signals, but this new cylindrical nanobot has an innovative opening mechanism.

April 1, 2014

Nanofiber Paper Filter Removes Viruses

(Nanowerk) – Researchers at the Division of Nanotechnology and Functional Materials, Uppsala University have developed a paper filter, which can remove virus particles with an efficiency matching that of the best industrial virus filters. The paper filter consists of 100 percent high purity cellulose nanofibers, directly derived from nature.

Nanotechnology ‘Smart Band-Aid’ Monitors Movement of Disorder Patients

(Nanowerk) – Medical engineers said Sunday they had created a device the size of a plaster which can monitor patients by tracking their muscle activity before administering their medication. Methods for monitoring so-called “movement disorders” such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease have traditionally included video recordings or wearable devices, but these tend to be bulky and inflexible.

March 31, 2014

What Are the Risks of Nanotech?

(The Guardian) – Medical intervention usually involves risk – you only have to look on the leaflet listing potential side-effects inside any pill packet. For all new treatments, the big decision to be made is whether the benefits (cure) outweigh the risks (side-effects, toxicity). We’re relatively well versed in predicting and testing how drugs behave in the body, but nanomedicines come with an added level of complexity.

Researchers Develop Technique to Measure Quantity, Risks of Engineered Nanomaterials Delivered to Cells

(Nanowerk News) – Thousands of consumer products containing engineered nanoparticles — microscopic particles found in everyday items from cosmetics and clothing to building materials — enter the market every year. Concerns about possible environmental health and safety issues of these nano-enabled products continue to grow with scientists struggling to come up with fast, cheap, and easy-to-use cellular screening systems to determine possible hazards of vast libraries of engineered nanomaterials. However, determining how much exposure to engineered nanoparticles could be unsafe for humans requires precise knowledge of the amount (dose) of nanomaterials interacting with cells and tissues such as lungs and skin.

March 28, 2014

Enhancing the Antagonistic Effects of Gut Bacteria

(Nanotechweb) – The human gut microbiota, or the “virtual organ”, plays a crucial role in defining the state of human health and disease. In combination with graphene oxide (GO) it holds potential as a new territory for drug delivery. However, the potential interactions between GO nanocarriers and gut bacteria are poorly understood. Understanding these impacts could generate new insights and opportunities for future medical application in treating human diseases. Now, reporting in Nanotechnology, researchers have systematically investigated the interaction of GO with five of the most common gut bacteria and uncovered some beneficial synergies.

The Promise and Peril of Nanotechnology

( – But do we know enough about this new technology to understand what the potential unintended impacts on human health and the environment could be? As nanomaterials become more widespread, the public and those who work with them will be increasingly exposed to them. Since 2001, the federal government has invested almost $20 billion in nanotechnology research through the National Nanotechnology Initiative, but only $750 million on studying the environmental and health impacts and safety of nanotechnology.

March 26, 2014

Optical Tweezers Grab Nanometre-Sized Objects

(Nanotechnology Now) – Optical “nanotweezers” that can grasp and move objects just a few tens of nanometres in size have been created by researchers in Spain and Australia. The new tool is gentle enough to grasp tiny objects such as viruses without destroying them, and works in biologically-friendly media such as water. The nanotweezers could find a range of uses, from helping us to understand the biological mechanisms underlying diseases to assembling tiny machines.

March 20, 2014

‘Nano-Flares’ Catch Breast Cancer before It Spreads: Can Breakthroughs in Nanotechnology Block Metastasis?

(Medical Daily) – Breakthroughs in nanotechnology may help physicians spot the spread of breast cancer before it takes root in neighboring organs and tissue, providing an effective preventive strategy against the disease that kills nearly 40,000 American women each year. Dr. Chad Mirkin, a researcher at Northwestern University and one of the developers of the new technology, said in a press release that the innovation can help physicians spot red flags on an early cellular level.

March 18, 2014

Nanomedicine: New Solutions or New Problems?

(Nanowerk) – A new report from Health Care Without Harm (“Nanomedicine: new solutions or new problems?”) gives an overview of nanomedicine in general with particular emphasis on environmental and human health risks, as well as raising regulatory issues that need to be addressed in order for nanomedicine to deliver on its promises without unduly introducing new risks.

Nanotechnology So Good You Can Eat It

(The Guardian) – In the last few years, the idea of electronics that can be literally eaten – or at least can safely dissolve in the body or in the environment – has unexpectedly evaded the science fiction realm, mostly thanks to advances in nanotechnology. In 2010, a group led by Siegfried Bauer – a physicist at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Germany – built a prototype of a transistor fully made of edible materials. “Polymers were made from corn, dielectric materials from sugar-like substances, semiconductors from carrot components and electrodes from thin layers of gold – that have an E number in Europe, that is, they can be taken in as food,” says Bauer.

March 17, 2014

Cryoablation and Nanoparticle-encapsulated Anticancer Drug Combined to Destroy Cancer Stem-like Cells

(Medical News Today) – Combining nanodrug-based chemotherapy and cryoablation provides an effective strategy to eliminate cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) the root of cancer resistance and metastasis, which will help to improve the safety and efficacy of treating malignancies that are refractory to conventional therapies.


The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
Yes, with some qualifications

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Which area of research should more money be invested in:
Animal-Human Hybrids
Gene Therapy
Reproductive Technology
Stem Cell Research
"Therapeutic" Cloning
None of the above

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