Navigation Links
MIT nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells
Date:12/14/2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--MIT engineers have developed carbon nanotubes into sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells.

The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that damage DNA.

"We've made a sensor that can be placed in living cells, healthy or malignant, and actually detect several different classes of molecules that damage DNA," said Michael Strano, associate professor of chemical engineering and senior author of a paper on the work appearing in the Dec. 14 online edition of Nature Nanotechnology.

Such sensors could be used to monitor chemotherapy patients to ensure the drugs are effectively battling tumors. Many chemotherapy drugs are very powerful DNA disruptors and can cause serious side effects, so it is important to make sure that the drugs are reaching their intended targets.

"You could figure out not only where the drugs are, but whether a drug is active or not," said Daniel Heller, a graduate student in chemical engineering and lead author of the paper.

The sensor can detect DNA-alkylating agents, a class that includes cisplatin, and oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals.

Using the sensors, researchers can monitor living cells over an extended period of time. The sensor can pinpoint the exact location of molecules inside cells, and for one agent, hydrogen peroxide, it can detect a single molecule.

The new technology takes advantage of the fact that carbon nanotubes fluoresce in near-infrared light. Human tissue does not, which makes it easier to see the nanotubes light up.

Each nanotube is coated with DNA, which binds to DNA-damaging agents present in the cell. That interaction between the DNA and DNA disruptor changes the intensity and/or wavelength of the fluorescent light emitted by the nanotube. The agents produce different signatures that can be used to identify them.

"We can differentiate between different types of molecules depending on how they interact," Strano said.

Because they are coated in DNA, these nanotube sensors are safe for injection in living cells. (Nanotubes can come in many different lengths and can be coated with different materials, which influences whether they are safe or toxic, Strano said.)

In future studies, the researchers plan to use the sensors to study the effects of various antioxidants, such as the compounds in green tea, and learn how to more effectively use toxic chemotherapy drugs.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elizabeth Thomson
thomson@mit.edu
617-258-5402
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Using nanotubes to detect and repair cracks in aircraft wings, other structures
2. Another type of nanotube, a how-to guide to making bamboo-structured carbon nanotubes
3. Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins
4. Spin control: New technique sorts nanotubes by length
5. Livermore researchers use carbon nanotubes for molecular transport
6. Nanotubes could help study retrovirus transmission between human cells
7. Slipping through cell walls, nanotubes deliver high-potency punch to cancer tumors in mice
8. Simulations help explain fast water transport in nanotubes
9. UNC study on properties of carbon nanotubes, water could have wide-ranging implications
10. Worms take the sniff test to reveal sex differences in brain
11. Scat sniffing dogs detecting rare California carnivores
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/9/2016)... 2016 This BCC Research report provides an ... RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for the years 2015, ... and reagents, data analysis, and services. Use ... RNA-Sequencing market such as RNA-Sequencing tools and reagents, RNA-Sequencing ... affecting each segment and forecast their market growth, future ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, ... of identity management authentication and enrollment solutions, today ... proven DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor ... enable IT and InfoSec managers to step-up security ... friction.  Washington, DC ...
(Date:3/3/2016)...  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, awarded five ... Development, Leadership in Education, and, in a category new ... year of the FLEXI Awards and the winners ... past years . Judging was done on a ... criteria, by a panel of non-affiliated, independent, industry experts. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... Haven, Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 ... ... that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan ... is the company’s second orphan drug designation granted by the FDA. , ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Jolla, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... financial planning for corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego Life ... in the San Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. Rich ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Willoughby, Ohio (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 ... ... Six Trends That Will Drive Precision Farming in 2017 and Beyond. The paper ... and practitioners in the precision ag industry. , “We’ve witnessed a lot of ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 - Leading CRO,s Use ... - Frontage Implement a Single Platform to Manage End-to-end Operations ... Within the Bioanalytical lab Frontage Laboratories, a full-service contract ... and China , has selected IDBS, ... In addition to serving as the global electronic lab notebook (ELN), ...
Breaking Biology Technology: