Gina Miller writes "Purdue University researcher Hicham Fenniri uses Rosette nanotubes as a frame to direct a target that can change depending on the chemical used. Fenniri believes his self assembling system could be used as a diagnostic tool and for the treatment of disease. See the Purdue News article (March 11, 02) http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/html4ever/020311.Fenniri.scaffold.html"
According to a press release (8 March 2002), Purdue University researcher Hicham Fenniri has developed a method to create self-assembling nanotubes that can be easily manipulated with specific dimensions or chemical properties. The nanotubes can be used as a frame on which various objects additonal molecules or metal ions can be added to give the structure a specific property or direct it toward a selected target, Fenniri says. Fenniri speculates that tailoring structures this way may allow development of high performance materials or new tools to diagnose and treat disease, or they could be used as a scaffold to custom-build molecular wires and other components for use in nanometer-sized electronic devices, including some that could be inserted into the body. A graphic image of one such structure showing a group of nanotubes linked to form a rosette-shaped ring is also available (Note: this is a rather large JPEG image).
Similar work by Fenniri using DNA as the nanoscale scaffold molecule was reported here on Nanodot on 17 April 2001.