Monthly Archives: October 2012

Canada’s first adopted ISO on nanotechnology

CSA Group, a leading standards development, testing and certification organization officially announces Canada’s first adopted International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard on nanotechnologies. CSA Z12885, Nanotechnologies – Exposure control program for engineered nanomaterials in occupational settings provides guidance for the safe use of nanomaterials in the workplace.

“The development of standards is crucial for effective and responsible commercialization of nanotechnologies,” said Brian Haydon, Senior Project Manager, Standards, CSA Group. “CSA Z12885 is the first in a series of standards on nanotechnologies being adopted in Canada, resulting from international and Canadian contributions to the continued activity of ISO/TC 229, the ISO Technical Committee on nanotechnologies.”

http://www.csa.ca/cm/ca/en/home

Graphene ideal material for new kind of sensors

 

Because of its intriguing properties graphene could be the ideal material for building new kinds of electronic devices such as sensors, screens, or even quantum computers.

One of the keys to exploiting graphene’s potential is being able to create atomic-scale defects – where carbon atoms in its flat, honeycomb-like structure are rearranged or ‘knocked out’ – as these influence its electrical, chemical, magnetic, and mechanical properties.

A team led by Oxford University scientists report in Nature Communications a new approach to a new approach to engineering graphene’s atomic structure with unprecedented precision.

‘Current approaches for producing defects in graphene are either like a ‘shotgun’ where the entire sample is sprayed with high energy ions or electrons to cause widespread defects, or a chemistry approach where many regions of the graphene are chemically reacted,’ said Jamie Warner from Oxford University’s Department of Materials, a member of the team.

‘Both methods lack any form of control in terms of spatial precision and also the defect type, but to date are the only reported methods known for defect creation.’

Source:

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/science_blog/

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n10/full/ncomms2141.html

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Nanoliposomes v CNTs for drug delivery

Nanoliposomes have been tested to deliver short-chain ceramides both in vitro and in vivo, but their use is limited by the relatively high concentration of nanoliposome ceramide (∼1−4 μg/mL in vitro22,24 and ∼10−50 mg/kg in vivo20,25,26) required to achieve antitumor effects, leading to possible offtarget toxicity. However, as demonstrated by our previous studies the levels of ceramide required to kill cancer cells can be substantially reduced by combination therapy with paclitaxel, which interacts with ceramide in a supra-additive
manner to promote apoptosis.

As carbon nanotubes allow the encapsulation of multiple drugs, they may facilitate the delivery of ceramide at a smaller dosage, resulting in less toxic effects than current delivery methods.

John Marshall et al, Trojan horse nanotubes on command intracellular drug delivery, J Nanoletters:

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/nl301865c

 

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Smart Immersion Heaters

Isis Project No 8664

A range of heater, sensor and controller enhancements allowing users of new and existing immersion heater installations to benefit from improvements to performance, price, energy efficiency and interface design.

http://www.isis-innovation.com

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Electron sniper targets graphene

 

Because of its intriguing properties graphene could be the ideal material for building new kinds of electronic devices such as sensors, screens, or even quantum computers.

One of the keys to exploiting graphene’s potential is being able to create atomic-scale defects – where carbon atoms in its flat, honeycomb-like structure are rearranged or ‘knocked out’ – as these influence its electrical, chemical, magnetic, and mechanical properties.

A team led by Oxford University scientists report in Nature Communications a new approach to a new approach to engineering graphene’s atomic structure with unprecedented precision.

Read more …

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/science_blog/121024.html

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Oxford Comes to Canada

This November, the University of Oxford will be in Canada visiting various universities across the country to promote graduate study at the University.
We will have presentations at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier, York, Queen’s, McGill, Concordia’s LAC and the University of Ottawa.
To attend one of the above presentations please register online on the University’s Canada website: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/about_the_university/countryspecific_information/canada_2012.html

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Gallium-labelled peptides as potential medicinal imaging agent

The development of molecular imaging agents is important in medicine. The labeling of biomolecules with radioactive isotopes enables the diagnosis and treatment of diseases through the visualization of the molecular processes. 68Ga-labelled peptides have many advantages for imaging relative to those of other radioisotopes, such as 18F and 111In. With this in mind, Jae Min Jeong and co-workers, Seoul National University, South Korea, investigated the complex-forming ability of gallium and NOTA (1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid) derivatives, which are commonly used as bifunctional chelating agents to label peptides.
Single-crystal X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy were used to study the coordination behavior of these complexes at different pH values. The complexes are stable at physiological pH and at high temperatures of up to 85 °C, and it was shown that the complexes can be formed after direct conjugation of NOTA to target molecules. This strategy eliminates the need for linker groups on the chelating agent to facilitate binding to biomolecules and opens up a route to the development of more cost-effective imaging agents for use in PET (positron emission tomography).

by Preeti Vashi

Potential medicinal imaging agent, J Chemistry Views

http://www.chemistryviews.org/details/ezine/877211/Potential_Medicinal_Imaging_Agents.html

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Gallium: characterisation by X-ray crystallography

Gallium(Ga) displays antitumor, antiresorptive, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. Among all these properties, antitumor properties were the most extensively applied and have shown efficacy in treatment of Paget’s disease, myeloma and hypercalcemia in cases of malignancy. By contrast no clinical trials have been conducted in prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.

Although not as potent as platinum in vitro, the anticancer activity of Ga should not be ignored, but the schedule of administration still needs to be optimised and new compounds are now under clinical investigations.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22539449

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19618183

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallium

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Chemical probes inadequately characterized

Potent, selective and cell-permeable inhibitors of protein function “chemical probes” are valued reagents in both fundamental and applied biological research, and they are essential for preclinical target validation in academic and industrial laboratories. However, chemical probes are not widely available because they are difficult to produce without access to skilled medicinal chemists; they are also frequently targeted to the relatively few proteins that have already been the focus of industrial drug discovery efforts and are often encumbered by intellectual property and restrictive material transfer agreements. Moreover, many of the probes currently available are inadequately characterized and nonselective, and thus are used inappropriately by the research community.

Aled Edwards et al, Nature Chemical Biology, Vol 5 (7), pp 436, (2009)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19536100

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Oxford won Nobel Prize for Medicine 2012

Sir John B Gurdon has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 for his discovery in 1962 at the University of Oxford that the specialisation of cells is reversible.

It was while he was at Oxford’s Department of Zoology that he carried out a classic experiment in 1962.

He hypothesised that the genome of a mature cell might still contain all the information needed to drive its development into all the different cell types of an organism. He replaced the immature cell nucleus in an egg cell of a frog with the nucleus from a mature intestinal cell. This modified egg cell developed into a normal tadpole. The DNA of the mature cell still had all the information needed to develop all cells in the frog.

Read more here

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2012/121008.html

Read about genetic revolution here:

http://www.nobelweekdialogue.org/

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Plastic made 100% from plants

In Dec 2009, patrons of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC experience a mild jolt of biological future shock when their pre-performance and intermission drinks- their beers, wines and sodas – were served to them in a new type of clear plastic cup. The cups looked exactly like any other transparent plastic cup produced from petrochemicals, except for a single telling difference: each one bore the legend, ‘Plastic made 100% from plants’. Plants?? Indeed. The plastic, known as Mirel, was the product of a joint venture between Metabolix, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, bioengineering firm, and Archer Midland, the giant food processing company that had recently constructed a bioplastics production plant in Clinton, Iowa. The plant had been designed to churn out Mirel at the rate of 110 million pounds per year.

Chemically, Mirel was a substance known as polyhydroxybutyrate PHB, which was normally made from the hydrocarbons found in petroleum. But starting in the early 90s, Oliver Peoples, a molecular biologist who was a cofounder of Metabolix, began looking for way to produce polymers like PHB by fermentation, by the action of genetically altered microbes on a feedstock mixture. After 17 years of research and experimentation and having been laughed out the doors of several chemical companies, Peoples had developed an industrial strain of a proprietary microbe that turned corn sugar into the PHB platic polymer……….

….If any of the plastic cups used at the Kennedy Center ended up in the Potomac River, they would break down and be gone forever in a matter of months (Biodegradation is not necessarily the panacea it was once thought to be, since it releases greenhouse gases, while non-degradation, ironically, sequesters carbon)….

Buy the book at Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0465021751#reader_0465021751

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

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What is the best way to do basic research to create new products?

Last March Oxford University spin out firm Oxford Nanopore revealed that it is to produce a new DNA sequencing machine the size of a USB stick.

Prof Bayley the founder believes that most new commercial exploitation opportunities come from basic research, and instead of research councils and universities trying to plan ‘pathways’ to new products and services: ‘the best way to do initial research is to find good motivated scientists, give them funding and time, and leave them ALONE.’

He adds: ‘we need to make it simple for academics to form a company, don’t make them have to take a year out from their academic work or quit their university job to get things going.’ The support he received from Isis Innovation and others around the University indeed made spinning out a firm ‘relatively easy’.

His message to funders and universities is that it’s how you treat your researchers that counts; support them and, in time, everyone will reap the rewards.

Read the success story…

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/science_blog/120315.html

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Tips on the tip of AFM

Developing new instruments to be able to “see” at the nanoscale is a research field in itself. Shown here is the tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM), one of the foremost tools for imaging, measuring and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. Here, a platinum electrode measuring one hundredth of a nanometer has been deposited on the tip of this pyramid shaped AFM tip via focused ion beam (FIB) deposition.

http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/introduction/introduction_to_nanotechnology_31.php#at_pco=cfd-1.0

CARBON NANOTUBE PHOTO DETECTOR

Carbon Nanotube Photodetector – Isis Project No 8486

Carbon nanotube based photodetector with broad range of optical and near infrared operational frequencies, demonstrating very high quantum efficiency and rapid response.

Read more….

http://www.isis-innovation.com/licensing/8486.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Isis+Innovation+Technology+Update+Service+October+2012&utm_content=Isis+Innovation+Technology+Update+Service+October+2012+CID_dcde3597a977981096fe974c0e863513&utm_source=CampaignMonitor%20Email%20Marketing%20Software&utm_term=Carbon%20Nanotube%20Photodetector

ABOUT CARBON NANO TUBES

http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=23118.php#at_pco=cfd-1.0

http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/newsid=27023.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

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Confocal microscopy unambiguously visualise nanoparticles NOT penetrating skin surface

The Bath study (“Objective assessment of nanoparticle disposition in mammalian skin after topical exposure”) discovered that even the tiniest of nanoparticles did not penetrate the skin’s

“Using confocal microscopy has allowed us to unambiguously visualise and objectively assess what happens to nanoparticles on an uneven skin surface. Whereas earlier work has suggested that nanoparticles appear to penetrate the skin, our results indicate that they may in fact have simply been deposited into a deep crease within the skin sample.
“The skin’s role is to act as a barrier to potentially dangerous chemicals and to reduce water loss from the body. Our study shows that it is doing a good job of this.
“So, while an unsuspecting consumer may draw the conclusion that nanoparticles in their skin creams, are ‘carrying’ an active ingredient deep into the skin, our research shows this is patently not the case.”
The results of the work suggest that it might be possible to design a new type of nanoparticle-based drug formulation that can be applied to the skin and give controlled release of a drug over a long period of time.
This would enable sustained delivery of the active drug, potentially reducing the frequency with which the patient would have to apply the formulation to the skin.

Source: University of Bath

The Bath study (“Objective assessment of nanoparticle disposition in mammalian skin after topical exposure”) discovered that even the tiniest of nanoparticles did not penetrate the skin’s surface.

http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/newsid=26857.php

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