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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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RE: Resistance be gone
By Christopher1 on 12/12/2007 2:02:16 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, this could still be a panacea. With all due respect to the poster before the posting I am commenting on..... a 'mutant peptide' would not keep the nanobots from destroying the bacteria.... they would just have to be programmed to find a way around it, if that is even a real thing... I'll have to look on Wikipedia and in the biological chemistry books I have lying around from my parents work.


RE: Resistance be gone
By tmouse on 12/12/2007 2:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
What I was trying to say is the nanotube must be coupled to either a monoclonal antibody or a ligand for a cell surface receptor. Its not about the killing in this case they use the nanotube to generate free radicals which is quite clever, but the problem still lies in the "targeting", a mutant peptide may not be recognized. The specificity of the targeting is both the strength and the weakness. Its very interesting work and it will have implications but it is not a panacea (I personally do not believe there will ever be a cure all and I have been working in the area for a long time)


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