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 reports about: > Drug Delivery > Friedman > Living Lakes-Konferenz > Multifunctional carbon-nanotube cellular endoscopes > Nanotechnology > Nanotube > biological molecules > cell biological questions > electrical signals > gold-coated endoscopes > invasive cellular probe > invasive operations > living cell > material science > methanol fuel cells > quantum dot
At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History
New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy