Nanotechnology is changing the world. It is the future of medicine, computers, and everyday life. Right now, nanotechnology is already in over 800 products that you and I use every day. Products range from cosmetics and sunscreens, to Apple computers and iPods, to Behr Paints and Refrigerators.
Most of the nanotechnology in use is anti-bacterial or microprocessing, but that is quickly changing every day as nanotubes and fullerenes become more commercially available, and therefore cheaper and easier to use in manufacturing processes.
The Journal Nanotechnology, listed by the National Institutes of Health, includes current journal articles on the use of nanotechnology in biology and medicine, electronics and photonics, patterning and fabrication, quantum phenomena, materials synthesis and materials properties.
Who knows where all of this will lead us? I know the only thing I can count on is that the nanotechnology gurus will probably lead us places I would have never imagined.
(By the way . . . If there are any nanotechnology gurus out there reading this--can you please work on making clothes that you just snap and drop and they fold themselves? This is what I am waiting for. )
This article outlines some of the amazing uses of nanotechnology in the use of treating a very serious illness: multiple sclerosis. This is the focus of the researchers from Tel Aviv University and Harvard--however, this research may also lead to amazing treatments for Alzheimers and other illnesses and injuries that hamper brain processing.
I impatiently await their wonderful research and wish them the best as they courageously move forward in this, as yet, underdeveloped realm of biotechnology.
Apr 18, 2009 23:09 | Updated Apr 18, 2009 23:40
Health Scan: Buckyballs may score a goal against MS
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Fullerenes - molecules of pure carbon named after architect Buckminster Fuller and the spherical geodesic domes he invented - are being exploited by Tel Aviv University and Harvard Medical School researchers for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
In partnership with a group including Prof. Howard Weiner from Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Michael Gozin from TAU's school of chemistry is attempting to create the next-generation MS drug based on a delivery platform of fullerenes (also known as buckyballs). They believe these tiny structures can function as "invigorating antioxidants" to keep neurons in the brain alive.
In MS, which usually attacks by the age of 40, the immune system mistakenly considers the myelin sheath around nerves as a "stranger" and attacks it, causing weakness, paralysis and lack of function. There are an estimated 350,000 Americans with MS and a few thousand Israelis with the disease. The researchers believe that fullerenes (and related carbon nanotubes) can be used in sensors and electronic applications for making much smaller and faster processors.
The TAU and Harvard teams hope they can resolve problems related to this nanomaterial development, and are seeking to commercialize their invention. If successful, the TAU-Harvard collaboration could provide new hope to millions of MS sufferers. They are the first in the world to have synthesized a brain-targeted antioxidant to treat affected neurons in the brain. Pre-clinical trials, the researchers report, have proven successful in animal models but not yet in patients. They are also attempting to apply the same technology to the treatment of Alzheimers, but an effective treatment for MS is their primary goal.
Israel is already prominent in developing drugs to minimize attacks of MS with drugs such as Copaxone. But Gozin, whose wide-ranging research has included work on classified projects for the US Department of Defense, says he "had a dream, an idea for a new kind of drug." He took it to Weiner, and the two began a collaboration.
"I wanted to target with antioxidants specific receptors in the brain that are involved in the disease progress, and thus stall the deterioration of motor function in MS sufferers," Gozin says.
"We've created a molecule based on the C60 fullerene, a soccer-ball-shape with great biomedical potential," says Gozin. The TAU team, including graduate student Amnon Bar-Shir, was the first to synthesize and patent this application, which is "programmed" to target specific receptors in the brain. "We are presently working on the next generation of this type of molecules, containing less exotic and more natural building blocks," Gozin concludes.