Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Drug Sensing by a Synthetic Receptor


Nanomechanical detection of methamphetamines and designer drugs

The widespread use of methamphetamines and related designer drugs is a major challenge for our society, with significant impact on health and social security.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Italian researchers have now introduced a new method of detection that allows the entire class of methamphetamine drugs to be detected in water. A probe equipped with synthetic receptor molecules responds to a grouping of atoms that is present in all methamphetamines. The chemical variations of the different designer drugs have no effect.

A large variety of analytical methods for the detection of methamphetamines have been developed, most of which are slow to yield results or require complicated operations such as labor-intensive sample preparation. The identification of designer drugs presents a further challenge.

... more about:
»Drug »Industrial »cantilever »drugs »receptor »substances

These compounds are based on an existing drug whose chemical structure has been slightly altered. Although the effect of the drug is not changed by these modifications, they do cause serious problems for current detection methods, which are optimized for the identification of specific substances and usually cannot recognize related drugs with a different structure. The demand for a sensitive, selective method for the rapid detection of methamphetamines and designer drugs in the field is correspondingly high.

Scientists from the Universities of Parma, Brescia, and Catania have now successfully met this challenge. Their new method is based on molecular recognition and a nanomechanical detector. The team led by Paolo Bergese and Enrico Dalcanale grafted concave molecules called cavitands to a cantilever made of silicon.

Such cantilevers are used as probes for atomic force microscopes. An array of such grafted cantilevers is used to probe the surface of an aqueous sample. If a cavitand comes into contact with a methamphetamine molecule, the molecule is bound. This molecular recognition is transformed into a mechanical response, which is converted into a deflection of the cantilever.

The cavitands were designed so that a single molecule reliably “recognizes” the methylamino group common to all methamphetamine-based drugs by way of a synergistic set of weak interactions. The chemical variations inherent in designer drugs do not interfere with the recognition by the synthetic receptor.

Other substances typically mixed with the drug, usually glucose or lactose, do not disturb the detection either. The researchers were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their technique with a variety of methamphetamine-based substances as well as real samples from the street.

About the Author

Dr Enrico Dalcanale is Associate Professor of Industrial Chemistry at University of Parma and Scientific Director of the functional materials section of INSTM (Italian Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology, His expertise is supramolecular chemistry applied to materials science, with main focus on sensing and responsive polymeric materials.

Author: Enrico Dalcanale, Università degli Studi di Parma (Italy),

Title: Cavitand-Grafted Silicon Microcantilevers as a Universal Probe for Illicit and Designer Drugs in Water

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article:

Enrico Dalcanale | Angewandte Chemie

Further reports about: Drug Industrial cantilever drugs receptor substances

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>