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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the science-rules dept.

ticho writes:

"For the first time, a team of chemists and engineers at Penn State University have placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells, propelled them with ultrasonic waves, and steered them magnetically. It's not exactly 'Fantastic Voyage', but it's close. The nanomotors, which are rocket-shaped metal particles, move around inside the cells, spinning and battering against the cell membrane.

'As these nanomotors move around and bump into structures inside the cells, the live cells show internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before,' said Tom Mallouk, Evan Pugh Professor of Materials Chemistry and Physics at Penn State. 'This research is a vivid demonstration that it may be possible to use synthetic nanomotors to study cell biology in new ways. We might be able to use nanomotors to treat cancer and other diseases by mechanically manipulating cells from the inside. Nanomotors could perform intracellular surgery and deliver drugs non-invasively to living tissues.'"

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  • (Score: 1) by NovelUserName on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:47PM

    by NovelUserName (768) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:47PM (#1751)

    Part of this may simply be that cancer is the most obvious therapeutic use for something which acts like an eggbeater inside a living cell. Even scientists will be skeptical that pureeing the inside of cells would find other target diseases.

    This really strikes me as a tool to enable other research or therapies, rather than a solution by itself. I'll have to look into the research from this group, but I'd be more interested in whether these would enable long term monitoring of cell activity by acting as conductors to a sensor array of some sort. I'd be very interested in something that would enable me to make lots of electrical or optical connections to individual neurons in a way that doesn't trigger an immune response.