David Kirkpatrick

January 19, 2010

Nanotech to replace drug-releasing stents

Via KurzweilAI.net — Nanotechnology is getting a reputation for innovative cancer treatments, but this breakthrough shows nanotech has a lot to offer many areas of medicine.

New ‘nanoburrs’ could add to arsenal of therapies against heart disease
Physorg.com, Jan. 18, 2010

Researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School have built targeted nanoparticles that can cling to artery walls and slowly release medicine, an advance that potentially provides an alternative to drug-releasing stents in some patients with cardiovascular disease.
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July 15, 2008

Creating “living legos”

From KurzweilAI.net — bioenginerrs at MIT and Harvard have created self-assembling tissues.

Self-Assembling Tissues
Technology Review, July 15, 2008

MIT and Harvard Medical School bioengineers have created “living Legos” — building blocks of biofriendly gels of various shapes studded with cells that can self-assemble into complex structures resembling those found in tissues.

(Ali Khademhosseini)

They are currently working on making more-complex self-assembling structures that resemble the repeating units of the liver, the pancreas, and heart muscle.

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This is a real breakthrough in terms of custom growing organs for patients needing a new liver, or lung or other body part. As this science becomes practical and commonplace it will completely change the nature of the transplant/organ donor world. Replacement organs grown from your own cells will be much safer and less likely to result in complications or rejection of the new part.

From the original Technology Review article (same link as “Read Original Article” above):

Tissue engineers are ambitious. If they had their way, a dialysis patient could receive a new kidney made in the lab from his own cells, instead of waiting for a donor organ that his immune system might reject. Likewise, a diabetic could, with grafts of lab-made pancreatic tissue, be given the ability to make insulin again. But tissue engineering has stalled in part because bioengineers haven’t been able to replicate the structural complexity of human tissues. Now researchers have taken an important first step toward building complex tissues from the bottom up by creating what they call living Legos. These building blocks, biofriendly gels of various shapes studded with cells, can self-assemble into complex structures resembling those found in tissues.

June 12, 2008

3D sans glasses, nanotube electron turbine and recreating the first cell

From KurzweilAI.net — 3D imagery without the need for special glasses, printing molecules with a nanotech electron turbine, and recreating what is beleived to be the first living cell on Earth.

3-D Viewing without Goofy Glasses
Technology Review, June 12, 2008Philips’ WOWvx displays–which allow viewers to perceive high-quality 3-D images without the need for special glasses–are now beginning to appear in shopping malls, movie-theater lobbies, and theme parks worldwide.

Artist rendition of WOWvx 3-D screens (Phillips)

The technology uses image-processing software, plus display hardware that includes sheets of tiny lenses atop LCD screens. The lenses project slightly different images to viewers’ left and right eyes, which the brain translates into a perception of depth.

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‘Electron turbine’ could print designer molecules
New Scientist news service, June 11, 2008Lancaster University scientists have developed a conceptual design for a carbon-nanotube-based motor that spins in a current of electrons (like a wind turbine).

(C. Lambert)

The device could be made by suspending a carbon nanotube between two nanotubes and running an electric current through it, causing it to spin and function like a pump or printer.

By pumping atoms into the motor, it could assemble molecules (become the world’s smallest molecular printer), or shrink computer memory or processors 10 times smaller than existing devices by using an array of motors shuttling atoms between the 1 and 0 ends of the middle tube to store or process information.

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Scientists Close to Reconstructing First Living Cell
ScientificAmerican.com, June 10, 2008Harvard Medical School researchers have built a model of what they believe in the first living cell on Earth (3.5 to 4 billion years ago), containing a strip of genetic material surrounded by a fatty membrane and capable of replicating.

(Janet Iwasa)

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