Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Idea Jells Into Potential New Disease-detection Method

Date:
March 24, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Relying on principles similar to those that cause Jell-O to congeal into that familiar, wiggly treat, researchers are devising a new method of detecting nitric oxide in exhaled breath.

Relying on principles similar to those that cause Jell-O to congeal into that familiar, wiggly treat, University of Michigan researchers are devising a new method of detecting nitric oxide in exhaled breath.

Related Articles


Because elevated concentrations of nitric oxide in breath are a telltale sign of many diseases, including lung cancer and tuberculosis, this development could prove useful in diagnosing illness and monitoring the effects of treatment.

Assistant professor of chemistry Anne McNeil and graduate student Jing Chen will discuss the work at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City, Utah.

McNeil and Chen work with molecular gels, which differ from Jell-O in being made up of small molecules, rather than proteins. But there are also key similarities, McNeil said.

"In both Jell-O and molecular gels, you can use heat to dissolve the material, which then precipitates out into a gel structure. This gel structure is basically a fibrous network that entraps solvent in little pockets," she said.

The researchers wanted to design a material made up of molecules that would organize themselves into a gel when prompted by particular cue ---in this case, the presence of nitric oxide and oxygen. Other research groups have achieved similar feats with materials whose solubility changes when exposed to triggers (for example, a change in pH). But McNeil had the idea of promoting the process, known as stimuli-induced gelation, by changing the stackability of the molecules that make up the material.

"We took the approach of designing a molecule that has a shape that won't pack together with other, identical molecules very well, but will change into a more stackable shape on exposure to nitric oxide," McNeil said. When the molecules stack together, gelation occurs.

Because it's easy to see when the material stops flowing and turns into a gel, this method of nitric oxide detection is simpler and less subject to interpretation than other detection methods such as colorimetry and spectroscopy.

"I like the simplicity of not needing an instrument and just being able to flip the sample vial over and see if a gel has formed," McNeil said. At this point, the new technique isn't sensitive enough for clinical use, but McNeil and Chen are working to improve its sensitivity. They're also extending the approach to design materials that would use stimuli-induced gelation to detect hazardous materials, such as explosives.

McNeil and Chen reported earlier stages of their work in a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in November 2008.

U-M provided funding for the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jing Chen and Anne J. McNeil. Analyte-Triggered Gelation: Initiating Self-Assembly via Oxidation-Induced Planarization. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008; 130 (49): 16496-16497 DOI: 10.1021/ja807651a

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "New Idea Jells Into Potential New Disease-detection Method." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090322182918.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2009, March 24). New Idea Jells Into Potential New Disease-detection Method. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090322182918.htm
University of Michigan. "New Idea Jells Into Potential New Disease-detection Method." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090322182918.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins