||Last Updated: Nov 17th, 2006 - 22:35:04
Gold Nanoparticle Molecular Ruler to Measure Smallest of Life’s Phenomena
Scientists from the U.S. Department Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a ruler made of gold nanoparticles and DNA that can measure the smallest of life’s phenomena, such as precisely where on a DNA strand a protein attaches itself.
Oct 12, 2006, 13:23
Tiny inhaled particles take easy route from nose to brain
In a continuing effort to find out if the tiniest airborne particles pose a health risk, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists showed that when rats breathe in nano-sized materials they follow a rapid and efficient pathway from the nasal cavity to several regions of the brain, according to a study in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.
Aug 3, 2006, 17:29
DNA Amplification and Detection Made Simple
Twenty-three years ago, a man musing about work while driving down a California highway revolutionized molecular biology when he envisioned a technique to make large numbers of copies of a piece of DNA rapidly and accurately. Known as the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, Kary Mullis's technique involves separating the double strands of a DNA fragment into single-strand templates by heating it, attaching primers that initiate the copying process, using DNA polymerase to make a copy of each strand from free nucleotides floating around in the reaction mixture, detaching the primers, then repeating the cycle using the new and old strands as templates. Since its discovery in 1983, PCR has made possible a number of procedures we now take for granted, such as DNA fingerprinting of crime scenes, paternity testing, and DNA-based diagnosis of hereditary and infectious diseases.
Jul 12, 2006, 05:22
Solitons Could Power Artificial Muscles
Scientists have discovered something new about exotic particles called solitons. Since the 1980s, scientists have known that solitons can carry an electrical charge when traveling through certain organic polymers. A new study now suggests that solitons have intricate internal structures.
Jul 7, 2006, 18:15
Nanoparticles could deliver multi-drug therapy to tumors
In the ongoing search for better ways to target anticancer drugs to kill tumors without making people sick, researchers find that nanoparticles called buckyballs might be used to significantly boost the payload of drugs carried by tumor-targeting antibodies.
Jun 22, 2006, 17:08
Nanotechnology can identify disease at early cellular level
Nanotechnology may one day help physicians detect the very earliest stages of serious diseases like cancer, a new study suggests. It would do so by improving the quality of images produced by one of the most common diagnostic tools used in doctors' offices – the ultrasound machine.
Apr 25, 2006, 21:13
Light-sensitive particles change chemistry at the flick of a switch
A light-sensitive, self-assembled monolayer that provides unique control over particle interactions has been developed by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Particles coated with the monolayer change their surface charge and chemistry upon exposure to ultraviolet light.
Mar 27, 2006, 16:37
DNA Fragments for Making Tomatoes Taste Better Identified
Tomatoes are a major nutrient for humans. In 2004, 120,000 tonnes of tomatoes were harvested worldwide - and every year this number increases. Numerous medical studies have shown the health value of tomatoes. Lycopen, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, can for example prevent heart disease. Tomatoes furthermore contain a lot of vitamins C and E, indispensable for human nourishment. But after centuries of cultivation for shape, colour, and other useful qualities, our cultured tomatoes today are of small genetic diversity, in comparison with wild types. This has affected the taste and health value of the fruits.
Mar 27, 2006, 04:19
'Custom' nanoparticles could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment
Researchers have developed "custom" nanoparticles that show promise of providing a more targeted and effective delivery of anticancer drugs than conventional medications or any of the earlier attempts to fight cancer with nanoparticles. Designed at the molecular level to attack specific types of cancer without affecting healthy cells, the nanoparticles also have the potential to reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy, the researchers say. Their study was described today at the 231st national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.
Mar 27, 2006, 01:35
Human albumin from tobacco plants
Human serum albumin (HSA) is the intravenous protein most commonly used in the world for therapeutic ends. It is employed to stabilise blood volume and to avoid risk of a heart attack, its administration in operating theatres being almost a daily occurrence. It is used for haemorrhages, burns, surgical operations or when the patient shows symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration, chronic infections and renal or liver illnesses. The annual consumption in Spain is about 10 tons but, at a worldwide level, the demand exceeds 500 tons.
Mar 25, 2006, 15:35
A new metal detector to study human disease
Zinc may be a familiar dietary supplement to millions of health-conscious people, but it remains a mystery metal to scientists who study zinc’s role in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other health problems.
Mar 22, 2006, 08:07
Crucial breakthrough in pectin biosynthesis
Most people know pectin as a common household gelling agent in making jams and jellies, but its uses are vast. It has anticancer properties, for instance, and may have a role in important biological functions including plant growth and development and defense against disease. Despite the importance of pectin as a major component in the primary walls of plants, scientists have known relatively little about how this family of complex polysaccharides is made. Especially perplexing has been how the synthesis of the three different classes of pectic polysaccharides is coordinated to produce the pectin matrix in cell walls.
Mar 22, 2006, 07:55
Enzyme computer could live in human body
Israeli researchers have invented a molecular computer that uses enzymes to perform calculations and could eventually be implanted into the human body and monitor the release of drugs.
Feb 25, 2006, 10:00
Using biologically compatible materials to fabricate a nanoshuttle
Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report that they have created a way for viral and gold particles to "directly assemble" and potentially seek out and treat disease where it resides in the body. Their study, published in the online early edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the week of Jan. 23 - 27, 2006, shows the use of biologically compatible materials to fabricate a "nanoshuttle" - thousands of times smaller than a human hair - which can be harnessed to viral particles to precisely home to disease wherever it hides. Once there, the nanoshuttle can perform a variety of functions. The study defines how assembled particles of gold - a metal that is not rejected by the body - could possibly be "tuned" to destroy tissue or emit signals that can be detected by imaging devices. The system also can be adapted to form a flexible scaffold that can carry drugs, genes or even cradle restorative stem cells.
Jan 24, 2006, 15:51
Buckyballs Deform DNA - Surprising Simulation Findings
Soccer-ball-shaped "buckyballs" are the most famous players on the nanoscale field, presenting tantalizing prospects of revolutionizing medicine and the computer industry. Since their discovery in 1985, engineers and scientists have been exploring the properties of these molecules for a wide range of applications and innovations.
Dec 7, 2005, 19:22
ATP Hydrolysis is Required to Reset the ATP-binding Cassette Dimer
Scientists have a tough time visualizing the tiny hatchways that allow nutrients to pass into our cells, but a group of Purdue University biologists may have found the next best thing: a glimpse into the workings of the "motor" that opens and closes them.
Dec 4, 2005, 09:48
First comprehensive map of the proteins and kinase signaling network
A team of scientists at Yale University has completed the first comprehensive map of the proteins and kinase signaling network that controls how cells of higher organisms operate, according to a report this week in the journal Nature. The study is a breakthrough in understanding mechanisms of how proteins operate in different cell types under the control of master regulator molecules called protein kinases. Although protein kinases are already important targets of cancer drugs including Gleevec and Herceptin, until recently, it has been difficult to identify the proteins regulated by the kinases.
Dec 1, 2005, 05:37
Magnetic probe successfully tracks implanted cells
By using MRI to detect magnetic probes of tiny iron oxide particles, an international research team for the first time has successfully tracked immune-stimulating cells implanted into cancer patients for treatment purposes.
Nov 21, 2005, 20:13
New Microscope Tracks Functioning Protein at Atomic Level
A Stanford University research team has designed the first microscope sensitive enough to track the real-time motion of a single protein down to the level of its individual atoms. Writing in the Nov. 13 online issue of the journal Nature, the Stanford researchers explain how the new instrument allowed them to settle long-standing scientific debates about the way genes are copied from DNA--a biochemical process that's essential to life. In a second paper published in the Nov. 8 online issue of the journal Physical Review Letters, the scientists offer a detailed description of their novel device, an advanced version of the "optical trap," which uses infrared light to trap and control the forces on a functional protein, allowing researchers to monitor the molecule's every move in real time.
Nov 14, 2005, 01:49
Selenium Speeds Enzymatic Reactions
At the heart of every reaction of every cell lies an enzyme, a protein catalyst. At its active siteâ€”a special pocket on its surfaceâ€”it binds reactants (substrates) and rearranges their chemical bonds, before releasing them as useful products. Rearranging some bonds may require help from certain chemical elements that are present in trace amounts. Many enzymes place these elements at the center of their active sites to do the most critical job.
Nov 8, 2005, 17:44
Exploring Dynamic Personalities of Proteins
A Brandeis University study published in Nature this week advances fundamental understanding of the dynamic personalities of proteins and proposes that these enzymes are much more mobile, or plastic, than previously thought. The research, based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments, may shed new light on how to improve rational drug design through docking to dynamic targets.
Nov 3, 2005, 16:24
Biotech failed to meet promises
Promises of cheaper and better drugs using biotechnologies have not been met, say researchers in this week’s BMJ. They assessed biotech products approved by the European Medicine Evaluation Agency between 1995 and 2003.
Oct 14, 2005, 21:43
Understanding how voltage-gated ion channels operate
One of the biggest mysteries in molecular biology is exactly how ion channels – tiny protein pores through which molecules such as calcium and potassium flow in and out of cells – operate. Such channels can be extremely important; members of the voltage-gated ion channel family are crucial to generating electrical pulses in the brain and heart, carrying signals in nerves and muscles. When channel function goes awry, the resulting diseases – known as channelopathies, including epilepsy, a number of cardiomyopathies and cystic fibrosis – can be devastating.
Oct 12, 2005, 04:56
Call for funding boost for robotics research in US
When it comes to developing robots for use in biology and medicine, no country is currently a match for the United States . But that situation could change within the next few years, according to a new report.Unless the government boosts funding for robotics research, the United States – the world leader for research and manufacturing of robotic systems for tasks such as surgery and DNA sequencing – will likely have to start relying on technology from other countries, said Yuan F. Zheng, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Ohio State.
Sep 20, 2005, 22:04
Biochemistry's future – with quantum physics
Chemists who have trouble predicting how some large, complex biological molecules will react with others may soon have a solution from the world of computational quantum physics, say Purdue University researchers.
Sep 19, 2005, 12:20
First comprehensive study of human hair on nanometer level
Ohio State University researchers have just completed the first comprehensive study of human hair on the nanometer level.
Sep 9, 2005, 17:41
Artificial intelligence to help intensive care doctors
A team of systems engineers from the University of Sheffield is developing an intelligent computer system which imitates a doctor's brain to make treatment decisions for intensive care patients. The system will take some of the workload from emergency medical teams by monitoring patients' vital signs and then evaluating and administering the right amounts of different drugs needed - a job usually carried out by specialist medical doctors.
Sep 4, 2005, 09:27
A Global View of DNA-Packing Proteins Cracks the Histone Code
In one of biology's most impressive engineering feats, specialized proteins package some six-and-a-half feet of human DNA into a nucleus that averages just 5 microns (0.0001969 inches) in diameter. In the first of a series of supercondensing steps, DNA winds around proteins called histones, which together form a complex called the nucleosome. Histones package DNA into repetitive coils, which not only provide genomic structure but also help regulate gene expression. These tasks are mediated in part by chemical modifications to histone proteins—most commonly to histone “tails,” long, unstructured chains of amino acids that protrude from nucleosomes. Different chemical modifications are associated with different functional effects. Acetylation, which adds an acetyl group to an amino acid on the histone tail, has been linked to both gene activation and silencing, depending on which amino acid is modified. Methylation (addition of a methyl group to the histone tail) has also been linked to gene activation and repression, although the chemical effects of methylation differ dramatically from those of acetylation.
Aug 31, 2005, 02:12
DNA buckyballs for drug delivery created
DNA isn't just for storing genetic codes any more. Since DNA can polymerize -- linking many molecules together into larger structures -- scientists have been using it as a nanoscale building material, constructing geometric shapes and even working mechanical devices.
Aug 29, 2005, 22:36
Method to predict protein separation behavior directly from protein structure
Applying math and computers to the drug discovery process, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a method to predict protein separation behavior directly from protein structure. This new multi-scale protein modeling approach may reduce the time it takes to bring pharmaceuticals to market and may have significant implications for an array of biotechnology applications, including bioprocessing, drug discovery, and proteomics, the study of protein structure and function.
Aug 20, 2005, 16:38