Genesis Nanotech Headlines Are Out!


Organ on a chip organx250Genesis Nanotech Headlines Are Out! Read All About It!

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SUBCOMMITTE EXAMINES BREAKTHROUGH NANOTECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICA

Chairman Terry: “Nanotech is a true science race between the nations, and we should be encouraging the transition from research breakthroughs to commercial development.”

WASHINGTON, DCThe Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), today held a hearing on:

“Nanotechnology: Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation.”

 

 

electron-tomography

“Great Things from Small Things!” … We Couldn’t Agree More!

 

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USC PhD Student Creates Project to Treat MS with Nanotechnology


 

USC MS shutterstock_180761063-300x225A Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, Kun Yue, is developing a model of selected brain circuits to study multiple sclerosis (MS) in an effort to develop a nanotechnology based treatment for the disease. Yue believes that new technology can lead to improvement in the quality of life of people who suffer from chronic debilitating neural diseases.

“There is no known cure for many of the most debilitating neural diseases,” such as MS, Kun Yue explained. “New technology can ease people’s suffering.” Supported by a 2014 Research Enhancement Fellowship awarded by the USC Graduate School and under the guidance of Professor Alice Parker, leader of the USC BioRC Project, Yue has embraced the challenge of creating a treatment suitable for diseases such as MS using nanotechnology.

USC MS shutterstock_180761063-300x225

“Nano medicine is popular, but not many are working on it because few universities have the resources for the interdisciplinary work. USC is one of the universities that does,” explained Yue. His work will be integrated into his mentor project on reverse engineering of the brain, which was proposed by the National Academy of Engineering. In addition to electrical engineers, Yue will also work with USC’s experts in neuroscience, medicine, and pharmacology.

Yue began his project by creating an electrical circuit model of selected brain circuits, allowing the research team to gain a better understanding of multiple sclerosis functioning in the human brain. This preliminary approach was designed to help pave the way toward developing medical treatments using nanotechnology, which may have major implications in the comprehension and treatment of neurological disorders such as MS.

Currently, treating most of the chronic debilitating neural diseases involves deep brain stimulation, which requires the implantation of an electrode inside the brain through an invasive surgery. However, if Yue succeeds in using nanotechnology, physicians may be able to achieve the same results without the risk of major surgery.

 

NANOTECHNOLOGY – On the Horizon and in the Far Future: Video


 

 

 

What is Nanotechnology?

 
A basic definition: Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced.

 

 
In its original sense, ‘nanotechnology’ refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology.

A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold.

It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research.

Through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars. The European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars

Researchers invent nanotech microchip to diagnose type-1 diabetes


An inexpensive, portable, microchip-based test for diagnosing type-1 diabetes could improve patient care worldwide and help researchers better understand the disease, according to the device’s inventors at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Described in a paper published online July 13 in Nature Medicine, the test employs nanotechnology to detect type-1 diabetes outside hospital settings.

The handheld microchips distinguish between the two main forms of diabetes mellitus, which are both characterized by high blood-sugar levels but have different causes and treatments. Until now, making the distinction has required a slow, expensive test available only in sophisticated health-care settings. The researchers are seeking Food and Drug Administration approval of the device.

<<< Brian Feldman is one of the inventors of a microchip-based test for diagnosing type-1 diabetes. Norbert von der Groeben

“With the new test, not only do we anticipate being able to diagnose diabetes more efficiently and more broadly, we will also understand diabetes better — both the natural history and how new therapies impact the body,” said Brian Feldman, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology and the Bechtel Endowed Faculty Scholar in Pediatric Translational Medicine. Feldman, the senior author of the paper, is also a pediatric endocrinologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Better testing is needed because recent changes in who gets each form of the disease have made it risky to categorize patients based on their age, ethnicity or weight, as was common in the past, and also because of growing evidence that early, aggressive treatment of type-1 diabetes improves patients’ long-term prognoses. Decades ago, type-1 diabetes was diagnosed almost exclusively in children, and type-2 diabetes almost always in middle-aged, overweight adults. The distinction was so sharp that lab confirmation of diabetes type was usually considered unnecessary, and was often avoided because of the old test’s expense and difficulty. Now, because of the childhood obesity epidemic, about a quarter of newly diagnosed children have type-2 diabetes. And, for unclear reasons, a growing number of newly diagnosed adults have type-1.

Aggressive, early treatment can help

Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by an inappropriate immune-system attack on healthy tissue. As a result, patients’ bodies stop making insulin, a hormone that plays a key role in processing sugar. The disease begins when a person’s own antibodies attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The auto-antibodies are present in people with type-1 but not those with type-2, which is how tests distinguish between them.

A growing body of evidence suggests that rapid detection of, and aggressive new therapies for, type-1 diabetes benefit patients in the long run, possibly halting the autoimmune attack on the pancreas and preserving some of the body’s ability to make insulin.

The old, slow test detected the auto-antibodies using radioactive materials, took several days, could only be performed by highly-trained lab staff and cost several hundred dollars per patient. In contrast, the microchip uses no radioactivity, produces results in minutes, and requires minimal training to use. Each chip, expected to cost about $20 to produce, can be used for upward of 15 tests. The microchip also uses a much smaller volume of blood than the older test; instead of requiring a lab-based blood draw, it can be done with blood from a finger prick.

The microchip relies on a fluorescence-based method for detecting the antibodies. The team’s innovation is that the glass plates forming the base of each microchip are coated with an array of nanoparticle-sized islands of gold, which intensify the fluorescent signal, enabling reliable antibody detection. The test was validated with blood samples from people newly diagnosed with diabetes and from people without diabetes. Both groups had the old test and the microchip-based test performed on their blood.

In addition to new diabetics, people who are at risk of developing type-1 diabetes, such patients’ close relatives, also may benefit from the test because it will allow doctors to quickly and cheaply track their auto-antibody levels before they show symptoms. Because it is so inexpensive, the test may also allow the first broad screening for diabetes auto-antibodies in the population at large. “The auto-antibodies truly are a crystal ball,” Feldman said. “Even if you don’t have diabetes yet, if you have one auto-antibody linked to diabetes in your blood, you are at significant risk; with multiple auto-antibodies, it’s more than 90 percent risk.”

‘Something wasn’t right’

Type-1 diabetes patient Scott Gualdoni of Palo Alto, Calif., and his 9-year-old daughter, Mia, are excited about the new test. Gualdoni was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, at age 41. Because of his age, his primary care physician began treating him for type-2 diabetes without testing him for auto-antibodies.

After a few months, Gualdoni returned to his doctor and asked for an antibody test. “I was just feeling like something wasn’t right,” he said. His suspicions were confirmed: He had type-1.

“Doctors may not be thinking adults can get late-onset type-1,” he said. “I slipped through the cracks.” He’s eager to see the microchip test implemented because a cheap handheld test in the doctor’s office would have saved him months of incorrect treatment. “If you’re not treating the right disease, you’re really doing damage to your body,” he said.

The test also holds promise for Mia, who was found to have five kinds of diabetes auto-antibodies in her blood when she volunteered for TrialNet, a nationwide study that tracks relatives of people with type-1 diabetes to monitor their risk.

“I’m really excited for other people who are at high risk for diabetes that this new technology is available for them now,” Mia said.

“There is great potential to capture people before they develop the disease, and prevent diabetes or prevent its complications by starting therapy early,” Feldman said. “But the old test was prohibitive for that type of thinking because it was so costly and time-consuming.”

Stanford University and the researchers have filed for a patent on the microchip, and the researchers also are working to launch a startup company to help get the method approved by the FDA and bring it to market, both in the United States and in parts of the world where the old test is too expensive and difficult to use.

“We would like this to be a technology that satisfies global need,” Feldman said.

Bo Zhang, a graduate student in chemistry, and Rajiv Kumar, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes, are lead authors of the paper. Another Stanford co-author is Hongjie Dai, PhD, professor of chemistry. Feldman and Dai are members of Stanford’s Child Health Research Institute.

The work was supported by grants from Stanford’s SPARK program; the National Institutes of Health (grant DP2OD006740); the National Cancer Institute (grant 5R01CA135109); JRDF, a type-1 diabetes research foundation; Stanford Bio-X; Genentech; and the Child Health Research Institute at Stanford.

Information about Stanford’s Department of Pediatrics, which also supported the work, is available at http://pediatrics.stanford.edu.

Source: By Erin Digitale, Stanford Medicine