Engineering Particles on the Nanoscale to Redesign the Future of Medicine

By: | January 24th, 2014

Super High Resolution Microscopes

Super high resolution microscopes are the most significant development in imaging since the invention of the microscope in the 16th century. Conventional microscopes resolve objects as small as 300 nanometers, also known as the “diffraction limit.” But with a new technology, researchers are able to see molecules such as proteins and lipids and synthetic nanostructures just a few nanometers in diameter.

Prof. Frank Caruso of the Nano Structured Interfaces and Materials Science Group at the University of Melbourne and his colleagues are redesigning and reengineering drugs and other materials on the nanoscale to increase their effectiveness and reduce side effects. With each new generation of drugs or nanoparticles, designers collect information about their effectiveness, using this information to improve the next cycle of development.

According to Caruso, it is important, but challenging, to track how nanoparticles are internalized and processed by cells in the body. Therapeutic agents encapsulated in nanoparticles are released at a specific rate to maximize their effectiveness. The biological machinery of cells can now be studied with these new imaging techniques.

Caruso says nearly every drug on the planet will be vastly improved by this new type of nano engineering that depends on recent breakthroughs in microscopy. The same can be said of materials used in engineering. The following video is an overview of the work being done by Caruso and his team:

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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