Scaled-up sensitivity and detection speed from scaled-down technology – nanotech is where it’s at.
Cells are tiny. Organelles and genes are even smaller and proteins and molecules are positively teeny-tiny. What better way to detect and repair damage from aging or disease that happens on a nanoscale than by tackling it on a nanoscale? We take a look at some of the ways nanotechnology is revolutionising detection and diagnosis – the nano-down-low, if you will.
Longevity.Technology: Nanotech isn’t just about doing things on a small scale, it’s about using quantum effects that occur naturally at the nanoscale level and that can be leveraged to influence physical, chemical, biological or mechanical properties. These quantum effects often do not result from larger agents and nanotech has the additional benefits of being non-invasive and incredibly reactive due to an enormous relative surface area.
MIT spin-out Glympse Bio has raised the tidy sum of $28.6 million in funding towards the development of its biosensors, neat little bioengineered nanomachines that are able to navigate to the site of disease in patients. Once in situ the nanomachines can investigate the diseased tissue and transmit the information non-invasively by emitting a data signal that can be detected in the recipient’s urine. Glympse Bio are road testing the biosensors in patients suffering from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), but hope it will be used to detect and monitor a range of both cancers and infectious diseases.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men . The usual detection method for prostate cancer is to look for the prostate specific antigen (PSA) in blood samples; various PSA biosensors have been developed that include gold nanoparticles, silica nanoparticles and graphene nanostructures and these have improved the technology in terms of sensitivity, stability and miniaturisation .