Researchers Develop Nanoparticle Sensor

Oct 11, 2006

(AP) -- New Mexico Tech researchers have developed a sensor that uses the light-emitting properties of some nanoparticles to analyze and identify individual components of single strands of DNA and RNA.

Chemistry assistant professor Peng Zhang said team members hope they can refine the emerging technology and eventually adapt the tiny sensors to detect cancer cells in their early stages and to target and destroy cancerous cells and tissue.

"I am very excited about the potential for this new application, especially since the preliminary phase of this study has shown that we can identify cancer cells," Zhang said. "The next step will be to modify these nanoparticle sensors ... and actually kill cancer cells with them."

The nucleotide sensor design, described in a technical paper to be published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, is versatile and easy to implement in DNA and RNA research studies and analyses in molecular biology, genetics and molecular medicine, the researchers said. The co-authors are Zhang, biology professor Snezna Rogelj and Tech students Khoi Nguyen and Damon Wheeler.

The sensor is based on a type of nanomaterial - materials that are microscopic - with unique "photon upconversion" properties.

Zhang said it "displays high sensitivity and specificity" - attributes that will be important in studying and treating many genetic-based diseases, such as sickle cell anemia.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: New electronic stent could provide feedback and therapy—then dissolve

Related Stories

Researchers find 'decoder ring' powers in micro RNA

4 hours ago

MicroRNA can serve as a "decoder ring" for understanding complex biological processes, a team of New York University chemists has found. Their study, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points ...

Recommended for you

Non-aqueous solvent supports DNA nanotechnology

11 hours ago

Scientists around the world are using the programmability of DNA to assemble complex nanometer-scale structures. Until now, however, production of these artificial structures has been limited to water-based ...

Nanosilver and the future of antibiotics

12 hours ago

Precious metals like silver and gold have biomedical properties that have been used for centuries, but how do these materials effectively combat the likes of cancer and bacteria without contaminating the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.