Navigation Links
Nanotech: injections or sampling? New 'molecular syringes' under testing
Date:7/18/2011

Which is better, a quick vertical jab on the buttock or the delicately soft entry of a blood sample? Waiting to find out "for what", some are already wondering "how" to use those tiny "molecular syringes" which are carbon nanotubes. With a diameter of less than one millionth of a millimetre (nanometre) and a maximum length of just a few millimetres, the first use that springs to mind when we think of this ethereal tubes - the smallest ever made by man - is as potential needles for injecting drugs or genes into sick cells. And if a syringe it is, we had better start thinking about how to use them. A group of researchers at the Ciamician department of the University of Bologna (Unibo, Italy) has no doubt about it. The easiest and most natural way of penetrating a cell membrane with a carbon nanotube, in its simplest form, is at an angle which is almost flat against the membrane surface. Just as a nurse does to "find" a vein.

Siegfried Hfinger (Unibo) explains: "A flat entry offers the most favourable energy balance." The entry of the nano-needle is in fact twice as easy than at an angle of, say, 45, and three times easier than vertical penetration. "We can even hypothesise that the nanotube takes on this position of its own free will when placed near the membrane," adds Tommaso Gallo, another of the young authors working on the study, which is in press in the scientific journal Biomaterials.

The scientists' doubts lie in the extreme difficulty in handling such small objects. "Probably no one is able to experimentally verify these phenomena yet," says Hfinger. The chemists from Bologna, part of Francesco Zerbetto's research group, have drawn their conclusions not from physical experiments but from theoretical simulations. Mathematical models which consider all the forces at stake and the physical and chemical properties of the elements involved, predicting their behaviour.

The encouraging aspect of the Unibo research, which also saw the participation of the Michigan Technological University and the Universidade do Porto, is that two independent simulations based on completely different theoretical approaches led to an identical response. Flat entry into the membrane is certainly preferable. The first simulation was based on the system's energy balance and the concept of "environmental free energy". The second simulation, on the other hand, is typically used to describe the behaviour of large molecules in solutions (solvents and polymers). It may be less accurate than the first, but it has the advantage of illustrating the dynamic and temporal evolution of the described phenomenon well.

To simplify the problem, the researchers considered the use of very short tubes, maximum 7 nanometres long, which could be fully included in the cell wall, which is around 5 nanometres thick. It was also seen that, once inside the membrane, the longer tubes tend to lie longitudinally, parallel to the surface. Carrying out the test with bundles of smaller tubes bound together, it was also demonstrated that compact bundles of tubes bound tightly to each other cause less cell damage.

The future that Hfinger sees for the nanotubes is not however that of molecular syringes, but of probes. Their physical properties, including their great electrical and thermal conductivity, make them particularly suited for exchanging information between the inside and outside of the cell. They may therefore also be used to test for certain substances and test certain processes beyond cell membranes. Probes or syringes, the scientist in any case feel comfortable in their role as molecular nurses, and are eager to keep on testing using all the new tools of the trade.


'/>"/>

Contact: Luigi Valeri
luigi.valeri@unibo.it
39-335-310-655
Universit di Bologna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Light-speed nanotech: Controlling the nature of graphene
2. Asbestos, Pharmaceutical Liability, Construction Defects, Nanotech: Covered by Targeted CLE Teleconferences
3. Nanotech: To know it is not necessarily to love it
4. Patton Medical Devices Partners With Unomedical to Develop and Market the i-port Advance(TM) Injection Port for People Taking Multiple Daily Injections
5. Milestone Scientific Acquires Additional Patent Rights for Painless Injections and Resolves Related Litigations
6. British School Kids With Diabetes Gain First Time Freedom From Injections With New Insulin Pump Guidelines
7. Molecular Devices Enables Intuitive Functionality at Your Fingertips on the Apple iPad with the Latest SoftMax Pro Software
8. Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics Files Glybera® European Marketing Application for Re-examination
9. Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics Appoints Dr. Carlos R. Camozzi as Chief Medical Officer
10. Elsevier and Molecular Connections Develop Two New Applications on SciVerse Applications
11. Biochemist and Geneticist Ronald W. Davis Receives $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize for Pioneering Work in the Development of Biotechnologies that Have Significantly Advanced the Fields of Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample ... the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 2016 NuData Security announced today that Randy ... principal product architect and that Jon Cunningham ... development. Both will report directly to Christopher ... reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product and ... demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance ... the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 The Department of Transport ... the 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):