Researchers Demonstrate Molecular Delivery System for Molecular Communication

March 27, 2008

NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced today that in experiments being carried out jointly with Professor Kazuo Sutoh of the Department of Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, and Associate Professor Shoji Takeuchi of the Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, it has successfully demonstrated the world's first molecular delivery system for molecular communication.

DoCoMo has been pioneering research into the field of molecular communication, a new communication paradigm in which molecules are used as a communication medium. By combining communication technology and biochemistry, DoCoMo aims to develop systems that could transmit information about the biochemical conditions of living organisms, such as excitement, emotion, stress or disease.

The experiment has confirmed the feasibility of a proposed delivery system to transport specific molecules using artificially synthesized DNAs and chemically energized motor proteins, typically found in muscles and nerve cells, which are capable of moving autonomously by converting chemical energy into mechanical work.

The system, which functions on its own because it does not require external power supply or control, could help lead to the realization of a biochemical analyzer, or biochip, a fingertip-sized microchip for biological and chemical analysis.

The envisioned molecular delivery system could have many applications in medicine and healthcare. For instance, it may be possible to diagnose diseases or stress by directly analyzing biomolecules in a drop of sweat or blood using a mobile phone equipped with a biochip. The molecular delivery system would be packaged in the biochip, and the data generated in the biochemical analysis would be transmitted to a medical specialist via a mobile phone using traditional wireless technology. The system could be used, for example, for remote health checks or preventive medicine.

A mobile phone with a biochip could also have applications in the fields of environment (e.g., water analysis) and entertainment (e.g., fortune telling).

DoCoMo and The University of Tokyo are continuing their collaborative research into practical uses of molecular communication to identify applicable molecules and to develop an actual molecular delivery system for installation in a biochip.

Source: NTT DoCoMo

Explore further: Israeli mini-scanner tells what's in food, drink or pills

Related Stories

A long-standing mystery in membrane traffic solved

March 27, 2015

In 2013, James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular machineries for vesicle trafficking, a major transport system in cells for ...

A 'warhead' molecule to hunt down deadly bacteria

March 12, 2015

Targeting deadly, drug-resistant bacteria poses a serious challenge to researchers looking for antibiotics that can kill pathogens without causing collateral damage in human cells. A team of Boston College chemists details ...

Recommended for you

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...


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.