Controlling cellular function on nano surfaces

Aug 14, 2012
Controlling cellular function on nano surfaces
© Thinkstock

EU-funded researchers applied nano-engineering to the creation and control of biological interfaces with natural and novel synthetic functionalities. The ultimate goal is the steering of cell function for use in stem cell-related therapies.

Cellular functions within living organisms are extremely complex and highly dependent upon pH and concentrations, molecular interactions, and many other parameters.

The ability to control and monitor cellular functions on nano-patterned substrates presents many difficulties and, at the same time, many exciting possibilities.

European researchers initiated the ‘Nanoscale surface cues to steer cellular biosystems’ (Nanocues) project to create a technical platform to be used in the design and fabrication of nano-based biotechnological systems.

The ambitious project included all levels of system development including materials, nano-structuring, chemical processes, and biomolecular interactions. The ultimate goal was controlling cellular function on synthetic substrates.

In order to realise such a complex technical platform, scientists required nano-fabrication methods to produce nano-patterned non-fouling surfaces with functional biomolecules.

To this end, extensive research was done on surface functionalisation including the study of self-assembled monolayers and surface morphology control. Intricate understanding of surface forces in nano-sized objects was also critical given the very high surface area-to-volume ratio of miniaturised objects.

Characterisation of interfaces between synthetic materials and living cells, between molecules on substrates, and between cells at biological interfaces required novel tools yet to be developed.

Despite the obstacles, the Nanocues project used nanoscale engineering to create functional biological interfaces with natural and new artificial functional properties.

The ultimate goal is to apply this technology to stem cells, undifferentiated cells theoretically capable of giving rise to all other cells, thus steering cellular function in therapeutically beneficial directions.

Explore further: Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

Apr 18, 2014

A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. A team led by Ludwik Leibler from the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and Didier Letourneur ...

Physicists create new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

Apr 16, 2014

A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminescent nanoparticle to use in security-related radiation detection may have instead happened upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...