Carbon nanotube sensors for cancer drugs
Today, the average size soft drink is 20 ounces and contains 17 teaspoons of sugar. More startling is that some citric acids found in fruit drinks are more erosive than hydrochloric or sulfuric acid - which is also known as battery acid. These refined sugars and acids found in soda and citrus juice promote tooth
Full Post: Drink tea instead of soft drinks to avoid tooth erosion
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.
A multidisciplinary team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed carbon nanotubes that can be used as 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
Full Post: Nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells
A carbon nanotube-coated “smart yarn” that conducts electricity could be woven into soft fabrics that detect blood and monitor health, engineers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated. “Currently, smart textiles are made primarily of metallic or optical fibers. They’re fragile. They’re not comfortable. Metal fibers also corrode. There are problems with washing such electronic
Full Post: Carbon nanotube-coated “smart textile” to detect blood and monitor health
Using an array of nanotube devices, each coated with a different organic material, researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology have developed diagnostic system that may be able to diagnose lung cancer simply by sampling a patient’s breath. The results of this study, which was led by Hossam Haick, Ph.D., appear in the journal Nano
Full Post: Carbon nanotubes detect lung cancer markers in the breath
University of Pittsburgh researchers have developed the first natural, nontoxic method for biodegrading carbon nanotubes, a finding that could help diminish the environmental and health concerns that mar the otherwise bright prospects of the super-strong materials commonly used in products, from electronics to plastics. A Pitt research team has found that carbon nanotubes deteriorate when
Full Post: Researchers develop natural, nontoxic method for biodegrading carbon nanotubes
To detect cancer as early as possible, dozens of research groups are developing methods to detect trace levels of cancer-related proteins and genes in blood or other biological samples. Those efforts should get a boost thanks to new research results showing that carbon nanotubes can serve as incredibly sensitive optical labels for use in
Full Post: Carbon nanotubes improve protein array detection limits