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Another iteration of the carbon nanotube versus the biological insurgent from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Ravi S. Kane, professor of chemical and biological engineering, and his team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have devised a way to target harmful agents in the body and neutralize them without physical or chemical intervention. Kane’s method is similar to similar to other remote control cancer killers and uses the widely popular carbon nanotube (CNT) as the bomb.

Using various tuned peptides attached to the CNT as homing devices, the microscopic particles can seek out a programmed protein, such as anthrax toxin or cancer cells. Since the peptide coating on the CNT can be changed, groups of different neutralizers can be used in the same application without adversely affecting any other proteins.

Rather than using a microwave pulse, the Rensselaer method uses near-infrared light to act as a catalyst, activating the neutralizing agent. Different coatings can be made to respond to different frequencies of light, thus the same batch of CNTs could be used on several different toxins, drugs, or cells simultaneously. One type can be targeted specifically by using a single wavelength of light to which that neutralizer responds.

When the invisible, harmless light is shined on the CNTs that have found a target protein, they release free radicals called reactive oxygen species. These free radicals deactivate the target protein, rendering it harmless.

Kane's technique uses virtually no invasive methods and has other applications apart from a blood-borne detoxicant. His team has already developed a film that uses the nanotubes. "The ability of these coatings to generate reactive oxygen species upon exposure to light might allow these coatings to kill any bacteria that have attached to them. You could use these transparent coatings on countertops, doorknobs, in hospitals or airplanes -- essentially any surface, inside or outside, that might be exposed to harmful contaminants," Kane explained.

The method could also be used as a way to destroy toxins and pathogens in laboratories, saving money and man hours on hazardous biological disposal processes.

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Star Trek Enterprise
By xxeonn on 12/11/2007 11:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
I know, I know, Another relation to Star Trek, but this is so darn close to what they do in Star Trek. They usually use some type of laser device on you body to irradicate any harmful atibodies after injecting you with something.

And In Enterprise there is usually an episode where they let the crew members strip down to there underware and rub some sort of clear jel on there skins to remove any pathogens while they are in a decon chamber that seem to emit some type of ultraviolet light.

RE: Star Trek Enterprise
By ThisSpaceForRent on 12/12/2007 8:38:14 AM , Rating: 2
Wasn't that episode just a blatant attempt to drum up better ratings? What better way to get the 18-30 male, demographic watching by smearing anything on the attractive female lead in the show. Brilliant!

If I'm not mistaken wasn't there a tentacle pron episode of Enterprise too? Sure I could be making this up, but it's early, and I haven't had my coffee yet.

RE: Star Trek Enterprise
By tmouse on 12/12/2007 2:45:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah star trek in general had the worst biological information I have ever seen (you would think they could cough up a few bucks to have some poor grad student give them some advice). I was particularly amused with the TNG episode where the crew de-evolved (on poor guy turned into a spider-man -beast). When the captain used a pheromone to lure the klingon (who turned into some sort of a rhino man) into the ships ducts he was worried about being killed. If I was crawling on all fours with a hyper sexed rhino coming up on me from behind I think I would be praying he WOULD kill me if he caught me if you catch my drift ;)

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