Mini-tutorial on nanotech for medicine, part 1

VC (and Foresight Participating Member) Norm Wu continues his series of articles on nanotech over at ExtremeNano, this time covering how it will be used in future medical diagnostics, imaging and therapeutics.

A sample: “In yet another potentially high impact nanotherapeutic approach, Professor Reza Ghadiri and his group at Scripps Research Institute have developed nanobiotic agents that can kill bacteria with the risk of them developing resistance substantially lower than with conventional antibiotics. Antibiotics often work by latching onto specific molecules in the bacteria’s outer membrane. If the bacteria modify these molecules even slightly, they become resistant to the antibiotic and can proceed to infect their host. In Ghadiri’s work, self-assembled nanotubes are made from rings of peptides stacked on top of each other. The nanotubes bundle together to form carpet-like aggregates which punch holes through bacterial membranes. The specific peptides are chosen so that they perforate the bacterial membranes without harming the cells of the host. The bacteria die instantly. Modifying a particular molecule would be insufficient for the bacteria to become resistant – they would have to substantially modify their membrane.”

I think it’s time for Norm to write a book on this stuff. He makes very technical achievements understandable.

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