Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanotube Probe for Living Cells Can Advance Drug Discovery

16.12.2010
Artist renderings of a nano-needle poking a single cell have become the symbol of nanotechnology, surfacing on covers of magazines and books for about a decade but actual nano-needles able to interrogate small cells without causing cellular damage have not become reality until recently.

A Drexel University team of engineers, scientists and biologists have developed a carbon nanotube-based device for probing single living cells without damaging them. This technique will allow experts to identify diseases in their early stage and advance drug discovery.

The research led by Dr. Yury Gogotsi, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, and Dr. Gary Friedman, professor of electrical engineering, uses the nanotube-based device, known as a cellular endoscope, to evaluate cells about a thousand times smaller than a human hair. The cellular endoscope interrogates the intracellular environment of living cells, delivers fluorescent quantum dots and analyzes molecules inside a cell without the cell recognizing the needle’s presence.

“Drexel’s W. M. Keck Institute for Attofluidic Probes now manufactures the smallest endoscopes ever created,” Gogotsi said. “Endoscopes provide a potentially transformative technology for studying the fundamentals of single living cells and more broadly, for cell biology.”

Cell biologists usually destroy a large number of cells to extract cellular components and biological molecules needed for identifying diseases and analyzing effects of new drugs, or to achieve a better understanding of how the cell functions. Glass pipettes are widely used to inject material into cells. The pipettes cause too much damage to remain within the cell for a long time and are not designed to report information in the form of optical or electrical signals from within the cell.

“We had an idea for a minimally invasive cellular probe, the tip of which could remain within the cell for a long time while reporting important information in the form of optical and electrical signals and transferring tiny amounts of material to and from the cell. This probe is similar to an endoscope employed by doctors to perform minimally invasive operations inside human patients, only much smaller” said Friedman.

“A cellular endoscope reported here is a novel, but conceptually simple device,” said Riju Singhal, a doctoral candidate and author of the article “Multifunctional carbon-nanotube cellular endoscopes” published in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.

“It consists of a single carbon nanotube connected to the tips of larger glass micropipettes that are commonly employed in biological studies, enabling them to become widely used in the near future,” said Singhal.

Dr. Michael Schrlau, research assistant professor in Drexel’s Material Science and Engineering who directs the research laboratory of the W. M. Keck Institute, said, “We’re now building upon the multiple demonstrated functions of cellular endoscopes to help answer elusive cell biological questions. One application of cellular endoscopes being actively pursued is intracellular surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy with gold-coated endoscopes.”

The Drexel team is funded by the Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team National Science Foundation grant and the W. M. Keck Foundation.

Elizabeth Brachelli | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.drexel.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>