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Nanoparticles

Scientists at Stanford University’s School of Medicine have created nanoparticles that are able to precisely highlight brain tumors. Because the nanoparticles can be imaged in three different ways, they can be used to delineate the boundaries of tumors before and during brain surgery to ease the complete removal of tumors. The scientists have already used the nanoparticles to remove brain tumors from mice with unprecedented accuracy and hope the technique could be used on humans in the future. Read More
U.S. researchers are developing a promising new approach to the targeting of individual cancer cells. The technique uses light-harvesting nanoparticles to convert laser energy into “plasmonic nanobubbles,” enabling drugs to be injected directly into the cancer cells through small holes created in the surface. Researchers claim that the delivery of chemotherapy drugs in this way is up to 30 times more effective on cancer cells than traditional drug treatments and requires less than one-tenth the clinical dose. Read More
While effective at killing cancer cells, chemotherapy is currently a shotgun approach that can also harm healthy cells and cause serious side effects in patients. The ability to deliver drugs directly into cancer cells would provide a more targeted approach to more effectively treat the disease with lower doses of drugs and less side effects. Researchers at Northwestern University are claiming to be the first to develop gold nanostars that provide a much more precise approach by delivering a drug directly to a cancer cell’s nucleus. Read More
With airborne radioactivity from Fukushima's still-critical damaged reactors circling the globe and more likely on the way from the mass incineration of earthquake debris, individuals are certainly justified in wanting to shield themselves from the fallout, especially when it shows up in their food and drink. Now, to address concerns about nuclear contamination in juice, milk and even water, a team of researchers led by Allen Apblett from Oklahoma State University (OSU) has announced development of a capsule that, when dropped in liquid, can easily and effectively remove numerous radioactive substances and thus prevent the consumer from ingesting them. Read More
In spite of numerous medical breakthroughs ranging from heart transplants to bypass surgery, cardiovascular disease still tops the list as the leading cause of death in developed countries. Key among the many problems that trouble our hearts is something called myocardial ischemia disease (MID), a condition that leads to reduced blood flow in the vessels of the heart and lower extremities and, frequently, corrective surgery. Now, University of Texas at Austin (UTA) biomedical engineer Aaron Baker and his research team have developed a method that may speed up the body's ability to grow new blood vessels (a phenomenon called angiogenesis), and best of all, no surgery is required. That's potentially great news for the nearly 27 million folks in the U.S. alone who chronically suffer from MID. Read More

Researchers from Australia's Swinburne University of Technology have announced the development of the world's most efficient broadband nanoplasmonic solar cells. The scientists improved the performance of existing thin-film cells by incorporating nucleated or "bumpy" gold and silver nanoparticles. By doing so, they were able to boost the cells' absolute efficiency up to 8.1 percent. Read More

HyperSolar claims it is developing a zero carbon method of producing hydrogen gas from wastewater by harnessing solar energy. Hydrogen gas is a clean source of fuel in that, theoretically at least, the only waste product is water. But hydrogen gas does not occur naturally on Earth, and requires energy to create. Typically that energy comes from traditional, carbon dioxide-emitting sources, rendering hydrogen fuel rather less environmentally friendly than it has the potential to be. HyperSolar's work may mean truly clean, renewable hydrogen fuel could be a commercial reality sooner than we might have imagined. Read More
Animal testing is an area that elicits strong feelings on both sides of the argument for and against the practice. Supporters like the British Royal Society argue that virtually every medical breakthrough of the 20th century involved the use of animals in some way, while opponents say that it is not only cruel, but actually impedes medical progress by using misleading animal models. Whatever side of the argument researchers fall on, most would likely use an alternative to animal testing if it existed. And an alternative that reduces the need for animal testing is just what Fraunhofer researchers hope their new sensor nanoparticles will be. Read More
Recently, scientists from the Swiss research institute EMPA, along with colleagues from the University of Basel and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois took a cue from photosynthesis and discovered that by coupling a light-harvesting plant protein with their specially designed electrode, they could substantially boost the efficiency of photo-electrochemical cells used to split water and produce hydrogen - a huge step forward in the search for clean, truly green power. Read More
A team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana is reporting the creation of a "solar paint" that could mark an important milestone on the road to widespread implementation of renewable energy technology. Although the new material is still a long way off the conversion efficiencies of commercial silicon solar cells, the researchers say it is cheap to make and can be produced in large quantities. Read More
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