Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Nano-Needles for Cells

Published: Friday, May 24, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, May 24, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Tiny needles can force medicine into cells, even when they resist taking it.

Physicist Pawel Sikorski and his group are making beds of nails on a miniature scale – a plate covered in nano-needles designed to puncture individual cells.

It sounds a bit painful, but none of these needles will be going directly into your body, because the test subjects are cells under the microscope. Sikorski is working to develop advanced tools for researchers trying to understand what goes on inside the body’s cells.

“These nano-needles will make medical research more efficient,” he says.

Cells gobble up medicine

One way to understand how different molecules influence cell function is to deliver the molecules directly into cells and study the effect. Traditionally, research is this field is done by first placing (printing) many different substances on a glass or other surface to study their effect on the cells of interest.

The substances might be a potential anticancer drug that works by affecting the cell’s genetic material, or a molecule that will switch off a particular gene inside the cell. The researchers then cultivate cells on top of the potential medicine. Some of the cells will absorb the medicine, and the researchers can monitor the changes in the cells caused by the different drugs. But in many cases this method does not work very well, because some of the cells don’t want to take their medicine.

“With the new method, we attach molecules of the drug being tested to the tips of the nano-needles, and then inject it the same way you would with an ordinary medical syringe,” says Sikorski.

Grey grass and smart cells

The researchers create the nano-needles in a small ceramic oven. In goes something that looks like aluminium foil with a small burnt patch on it (which is actually a wafer-thin piece of copper), and two hours later at 500 degrees, the copper reacts with oxygen in the heat, creating copper oxide.

The final product looks like grey grass under the microscope, but the grass is actually the nano-needles. The next step is to put something similar to tallow onto the needles so that they can be removed from the copper plate. Glass is glued to the bottom, so that everything is transparent. The finished product looks like a small, round bed of nails. Researchers can now put cells on top of the nano-needles, and see if test drugs can be injected into cells.

But some cells are trying to fool scientists. While some cells readily impale on the nano-needles, others encapsulate the needles and grow around them.

“We are currently working on finding the correct methods to insert the needles, to ensure that all of the cells are impaled,” says Sikorski.

Nobody else in Norway is making nano-needles like these. The NTNU researchers are also the first group in the world to develop an even, larger-size copper surface with nano-needles.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Breaking Cell Barriers with Retractable Protein Nanoneedles
Adapting a bacterial structure, institute researchers have developed protein actuators that can mechanically puncture cells.
Gene Signature could Lead to a New Way of Diagnosing Lyme Disease
Lyme disease patients had distinctive gene signatures that persisted for at least three weeks, even after they had taken the antibiotics.
Retractable Protein Nanoneedles
The ability to control the transfer of molecules through cellular membranes is an important function in synthetic biology; a new study from researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School (HMS) introduces a novel mechanical method for controlling release of molecules inside cells.
Leukemia’s Surroundings Key to its Growth
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a type of cancer found primarily in children can grow only when signaled to do so by other nearby cells that are noncancerous.
Common Cell Transformed into Master Heart Cell
By genetically reprogramming the most common type of cell in mammalian connective tissue, researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison have generated master heart cells — primitive progenitors that form the developing heart.
‘Smelling’ Prostate Cancer
A research team from the University of Liverpool and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has reached an important milestone towards creating a urine diagnostic test for prostate cancer that could mean that invasive diagnostic procedures that men currently undergo eventually become a thing of the past.
Genetic Mutation that Prevents Diabetes Complications
The most significant complications of diabetes include diabetic retinal disease, or retinopathy, and diabetic kidney disease, or nephropathy. Both involve damaged capillaries.
A Crystal Clear View of Biomolecules
Fundamental discovery triggers paradigm shift in crystallography.
Could the Food we Eat Affect Our Genes?
Almost all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat, according to new research.
NIH Seeks Research Applications to Study Zika in Pregnancy, Developing Fetus
Institute has announced that the new effort seeks to understand virus effect on reproduction and child development.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!