Nanoparticles can help cancer drugs home in on tumors and avoid damaging healthy cells.
Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines put nanomedicine in the spotlight as a potential way to treat diseases like cancer and HIV. While the field isn’t there yet, better design could help fulfill its promise.
We interact with nanoparticles in multiple ways every day. The nanoparticles in this illustration are delivering drugs to cells.
Some vaccine hesitancy is based on a fear of the nanoparticles used in mRNA vaccines. But humans have been interacting with nanoparticles for millennia, and we use nanotechnology-based devices every day.
Red quantum dots glow inside a rat brain cell.
Nanoscale Advances, 2019, 1, 3424 - 3442
These tiny nanoparticles might provide a new way to see what’s happening in the brain and even deliver treatments to specific cells – if researchers figure out how to use them safely and effectively.
Nanoparticles occur naturally in some foods, and others have them added.
Nanoparticles are extremely tiny particles, with external dimensions smaller than 100 nanometres (0.0001 of a millimetre). Here’s what we know about nanotechnology in food.
A PhD student in chemistry addresses some of the most common misconceptions about chemistry.
Magnetotactic bacteria owe their special property to the magnetic nanoparticles they contain.
These single-celled organisms naturally respond to the Earth’s weak magnetic field. Scientists are untangling how it all works, looking to future biomedical and other engineering applications.
Nanomedicine could scupper the need for TB patients to take multiple daily tablets with toxic side effects.
The reason that nanoparticles hold such hope for TB treatment is that they can be carefully targeted.
Section of a tumor observed with an optical microscope. The two white forms with brown borders are blood vessels. Inside, gold nanoparticles accumulate against their walls.
Mariana Varna-Pannerec (ESPCI)
Gold can be used to make jewelry, but also to fight cancer. Several clinical trials are currently underway in the United States where patients are being treated with gold nanoparticles.
Subbing new risks for the current dyes’ dangers?
Less-toxic hair dye would be a great invention. But discounting the risks that come with nanoparticles could undermine other efforts to protect human health and environmental from their effects.
Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy.
Invitation image created by Kstudio
One big challenge for gene therapies is delivering DNA or RNA safely to cells inside patients’ bodies. New nanoparticles could be an improvement over the current standard – repurposed viruses.
New ways to prepare and test nanoengineered particles are helping us understand how they can target diseases.
The more we learn about bio-nano science, the easier it will be to design nanoparticles that behave like we want them to.
The health scare surrounding nanoparticles might lead to people abandoning formula unnecessarily, with serious impacts on babies’ health.
A widely publicised study that cast doubt on the safety of milk formula was misleading, based on dubiously reported studies and may have serious consequences.
Achievement unlocked: Rewritable paper.
Coating paper with an inexpensive thin film can allow users to print and erase a physical page as many as 80 times. That reduces both the cost and the environmental effects of paper use.
Without electrons there would be no electron microscopes, and therefore no close-ups like this image of pollen.
Heiti Paves/Wikimedia Commons
The advent of electron microscopy and nanobiology has moved our appreciation of the living world to unprecedentedly small scales – with entirely new benefits and potential pitfalls to consider.
You’ll be amazed how much nanotechnology is found in the average house.
From the kitchen sink to the laundry and garage – nanotechnology has already made its way into the average household.
Tastier salt, packaging that alerts you to food that has gone off and fish oil that tastes better – nanoparticles have lots of potential.
Some companies have used nano-titanium dioxide to make powdered sugar on donuts whiter.
Two new studies from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand show there’s no evidence that nanoparticles in food present a health risk, but there’s more research to be done.
What’s in the bottle is good for me, right?
Microscopic needle-like particles don’t seem like something you’d want to feed a baby. Whether safe or not, the way we deal with nanoscale food additives leaves plenty of other questions.
A single-atom engine is the latest example of how nano-technology can create machines to power tiny robots inside the body.
With reserves of indium tin oxide running low, what will replace it as the leader in transparent conducting materials?
Touch screens are everywhere these days but the materials commonly used to make them are not that abundant. So what are the alternatives?