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:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 The research team of ... three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae ... realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, ... cost. ... A research ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company ... North America , today announced a Series ... acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates ... tools to transform population health activities through the collection ... higi collects and secures data today on ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has ... Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on ... . In addition, CHS previously earned a place ... an electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS ... of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... announced the latest version of LimitLIS®, its rapidly growing Laboratory Information System. , ... user adoption, ensure installation integrity, and provide more customization options. Each of these ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... ... hiring top executive talent in the life sciences industry, today announces a strategic ... The partnership takes full advantage of Beaker’s expertise in executive recruitment solutions, ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... LOS ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 22, ... ... alignment with global health leaders in designating infertility as a disease, bringing new ... voted last week at their 2017 annual meeting to back the World Health ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... RURO, Inc., ... Limfinity® version 6.5, a content-packed update to the Limfinity® framework. , LimitLIS® and ... and more diverse base of customers among labs and other businesses. Limfinity® 6.5 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: