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Posts Tagged ‘nanotechnology’

Hepatitis C breakthrough?

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2012

Dexter Johnson, on the IEEE Nanoclast blog, reported a possible breakthrough nanotechnology treatment for the hepatitis C virus:

Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have developed a nanoparticle that has shown 100 percent effectiveness in eradicating the hepatitis C virus in laboratory testing.

The nanoparticle, dubbed a nanozyme, consists of a backbone made from gold nanoparticles and a surface with two biological components. One biological component is an enzyme that attacks and destroys the mRNA, which provides the recipe for duplicating the protein that causes the disease. The other biological part is the navigator, if you will. It is a DNA oligonucleotide that identifies the disease-related protein and sends the enzyme on course to destroy it.

Y. Charles Cao, a UF associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Chen Liu, a professor of pathology at the UF College of Medicine published their research online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (“Nanoparticle-based artificial RNA silencing machinery for antiviral therapy“).

The basis of the work is mimicking the biological process of RNA interference, which researchers in the past have used effectively in the laboratory for treating HIV. In the UF research the nanoparticle mimics the function of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which mediates the RNA interference process.

Current hepatitis C treatments do attack the replication process of the virus but they are not entirely effective and only help about 50 percent of the patients treated with them. Cao and Liu along with their team wanted to see if they could improve upon that percentage. The researchers claim that their treatment (in cell culture and mice) led to a near 100 percent eradication of the hepatitis C virus without bringing on any side effects caused by the immune system attacking the treatment.

I have a good friend for whom this research could matter — a lot. So in the words of Glenn Reynolds, “Faster, please!”

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Science as art

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2008

The geeks at Gizmodo and nerds at io9 (or is it the other way around?) thought this first-place winner in the latest "Science as Art" competition was one cool picture:

Nano-Explosions

Nano-Explosions

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of an overflowed electrodeposited magnetic nanowire array (CoFeB), where the template has been subsequently completely etched. It’s a reminder that nanoscale research can have unpredicted consequences at a high level.

Credit: Fanny Beron, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

It is definitely cool, although the title is misleading. Nothing exploded, it's just the result of a deposition process going out of control and creating broccoli-like nanostructures instead of nanowires. If it were colored with shades of green (scanning electron microscopes produce black and white images), it would look like broccoli florets — but it wouldn't be as cool.

In the spirit of the explosion theme, though, a commenter at Gizmodo had the best line: "All your nano-base are belong to us!"

Nanowerk has nice-sized images of all the winners from this year. You can download high-res versions of all the current and past winners (for use as desktop wallpaper or screensavers) from the Materials Research Society, which sponsors the competition. 

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