Monday, September 24, 2007

Nanotech is promising, but faces hurdles

The latest editorial from John Carroll at FierceBio, as usual, an interesting read...

Dwight Seferos, PhD, a researcher at the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, held a sizable audience in thrall for nearly an hour at the 13th European Federation of Biotechnology meeting in Barcelona.

He had a good topic. Researchers at the institute have used oligonucleotides--a short piece of DNA known for its ability to bind to complementary DNA--to effectively disperse nanomaterials inside a variety of cell lines. There's good potential to use this technology to dispatch nanoparticles inside a patient's body to deliver therapeutic agents, Seferos told the group. The same approach, for example, could be effective in targeting cancer cells, killing them or leaving them vulnerable to chemotherapy.

Chad Mirkin, the director of the institute and a founder of Nanosphere and NanoInk, has been a leader in using atomic force microscope tips to make nanoscale materials, putting on one atomic layer at a time as he delves into a world that is one to 100 nanometers in size.

Translating that kind of technology to the bedside won't be easy, though--particularly in Europe, where government regulators have turned a cold shoulder to expensive new therapies. That message was sent loud and clear just a few hours after Seferos wrapped his presentation.

link to full article

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