Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nano-needles for cells: Tiny needles can force medicine into cells, even when they resist taking it

Date:
May 24, 2013
Source:
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Summary:
Nano-sized needles developed by researchers in Norway can force medicine into cells, even when the cell membranes offer resistance. The needles will make it easier to study the effects of medicines on cells.

Pint-sized nail bed: Into the oven goes a thin copper plate. Out come the needles that will force stubborn cells to take their medicine.
Credit: NTNU

Nano-sized needles developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim can force medicine into cells, even when the cell membranes offer resistance. The needles will make it easier to study the effects of medicines on cells.

Physicist Pawel Sikorski and his group are making beds of nails on a miniature scale -- a plate covered in nano-needles designed to puncture individual cells.

It sounds a bit painful, but none of these needles will be going directly into your body, because the test subjects are cells under the microscope. The researchers are working to develop advanced tools to understand what goes on inside the body's cells.

"These nano-needles will make medical research more efficient," he says.

Cells gobble up medicine

One way to understand how different molecules influence cell function is to deliver the molecules directly into cells and study the effect. Traditionally, this kind of research is done by first placing many different substances on a glass or other surface to study their effect on the cells of interest.

The substances might be a potential anticancer drug that works by affecting the cell's genetic material, or a molecule that will switch off a particular gene inside the cell. The researchers then cultivate cells on top of the potential medicine. Some of the cells will absorb the medicine, and the researchers can monitor the changes in the cells caused by the different drugs. But in many cases this method does not work very well, because some of the cells don't want to take their medicine.

"With the new method, we attach molecules of the drug being tested to the tips of the nano-needles, and then inject it the same way you would with an ordinary medical syringe," says Sikorski.

Grey grass and smart cells

The researchers create the nano-needles in a small ceramic oven. In goes something that looks like aluminium foil with a small burnt patch on it (which is actually a wafer-thin piece of copper), and two hours later at 500 degrees, the copper reacts with oxygen in the heat, creating copper oxide.

The final product looks like grey grass under the microscope, but the grass is actually the nano-needles. The next step is to put something similar to tallow onto the needles so that they can be removed from the copper plate. Glass is glued to the bottom, so that everything is transparent. The finished product looks like a small, round bed of nails. Researchers can now put cells on top of the nano-needles, and see if test drugs can be injected into cells.

But some cells are trying to fool scientists. While some cells readily impale on the nano-needles, others encapsulate the needles and grow around them.

"We are currently working on finding the correct methods to insert the needles, to ensure that all of the cells are impaled," says Sikorski.

Nobody else in Norway is making nano-needles like these. The NTNU researchers are also the first group in the world to develop an even larger-size copper surface with nano-needles.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Nano-needles for cells: Tiny needles can force medicine into cells, even when they resist taking it." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104048.htm>.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). (2013, May 24). Nano-needles for cells: Tiny needles can force medicine into cells, even when they resist taking it. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104048.htm
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Nano-needles for cells: Tiny needles can force medicine into cells, even when they resist taking it." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104048.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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