Call your office Ray Kurzweil—Scientists at Harvard have created a cell-sniffing nanorobot which is able to generate payloads of drug molecules to areas of a person’s body which is stricken with cancer.
The scientists reported recently within a peer-reviewed study that they utilized their nanobots to generate antibodies to leukemia, lymphoma, and other kinds of cancer cells, succeeding in stopping their growth.
The research that described experiments with the prototype device was published in the journal Science by Ido Bachelet, Shawn Douglas, as well as George Church of the Wyss Institute.
In defining nanotechnology’s practical application to treat maladies such as cancer, which have shown challenging to fight with more conventional forms of medicine, the research tends to recognize the predictions of futurists such as Kurzweil. He’s the well-known proponent of artificial intelligence "singularity", who also has promoted the probability of highly extended life spans (or even immortality) via advances like nanorobotics.
The exceedingly small nanobots deployed by scientists aren’t precisely the constructs an individual imagines while imagining bigger robots. Rather than being constructed of circuitry, plastic and metal, the Harvard staff's nanorobots were developed utilizing "folding" DNA chains or “DNA origami” in order to make a container that is shaped like a barrel for a payload of cancer antibodies.
According to an abstract of the study, the scientists targeted the payload-carrying nanobots utilizing aptamers, molecule strands which may be made to "recognize" certain kinds of cells such as cancer cells.
As the aptamers contact the cancer cells, they will cause the nanobot's container to "unlock" then spill the antibodies out contained inside.
Within two separate experimental settings that involve cell-signaling stimulation within tissue culture, the scientists loaded their nanobots shaped like barrels with antibody fragments to release at targeted areas as the aptamer-based sniffer directed the devices to do so.
Douglas told sources that building the nanobots out of DNA made them all the more likely to have the ability to move through human bodies securely without having to be rejected or harm us. Douglas added that the team now is working on optimizing the devices as well as constructing "a good many of them" for testing on animals.
What went wrong with nanotech? The majority of companies found it difficult to create products based upon such small form factors, and many products which did emerge within the industry never witnessed overwhelming demand. A fast snapshot of where the remaining stocks in nanotech trade in association with their all-time highs paints a sobering image. With one exception with that of FEI Co., not one of these companies lived up to their hype.
It exemplifies the sector’s challenges. They had the goal of applying nanotechnology to lithium batteries, assisting electrons in flowing more freely, yet yearly revenues never reached $10 million. A much-hyped and new technology referred to as graphene, ironically, holds the exact same promise, and in a couple of years we might witness massive sums of money chase after graphene firms, just as we witnessed with nanotechs.
However, just as many investors wrote off the idea of nano-investing, the underlying technology is now being seeded in a huge range of applications.
Already, it derives strong recurring streams of revenue from nanotechnology and is heavily spending on new products that bodes well for the businesses which create the tools to assist in furthering the technology's development.
A more interestingly valued stock is a biotech company, Flamel Technologies, which has created a range of drug generation techniques to produce nano-sized particles inside the bloodstream. Although this company never could live up to the nanohype of ten years ago -- and 10 years of yearly operating losses wilting any confidence investors may have had -- shares are beginning to rebound as critical products begin reaching the market.
Besides its existing Micropump and Medusa drug delivery items, Flamel has an additional six items being tested within clinical trials. Flamel's Bloxiverz includes a drug formulation that is nanotechnology based which assists anesthesia in penetrating muscle tissue within a surgery procedure. Additional drug developments also use Flamel's nano-based generating systems.
Investors who give a fresh look at nanotechnology stocks also may want to consider Organovo that’s creating 3-D printers to develop human tissue at a nano molecular level. As with the instance with additional 3-D printing stocks, Organovo shares have dropped far from the 52-week high as sector hype evaporated, offering a new point of entry within this promising fresh technology company.
The froth and hype is thoroughly gone from the nanotech industry, yet actual business models have emerged. Engineers continually pour hundreds of millions into this technology; therefore, it will pay to track the sector's developments searching for the following possible major breakthrough. From a present investment viewpoint, Flamel Technologies does appear to provide a nice mixture of value and growth.