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back to article Rise of the (tiny) machines: US boffins make nanomotor breakthrough

US researchers have controlled nanomotors embedded within cells, a breakthrough that gives scientists a new tool for probing the inner structure of cells, and opens up a new front in research for futuristic cancer treatments. The result was announced by Penn State researchers in a paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie …

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Nemo motors

Will they run a tiny nano submarine?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nemo motors

With a tiny Raquel Welch?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nemo motors

There would be no point to a tiny Raquel Welch. What would be needed would be a tiny Robert Winston.

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Re: Nemo motors

We all run in a tiny submarine...

tiny submarine...

tiny submarine...

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Optional Functionality

"In addition, functionalities such as sensing, molecule delivery, or photothermal excitation can be added to rod-shaped motors, enabling them to carry out different operations directly inside cells that may be interesting for biomedical applications,"

Forget the molecule delivery, what they need is rotating knives or perhaps a nano version of the ubiquitous kitchen whisk, thus enabling it to completely trash an cancer cells it comes across.

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Gold badge

Re: Optional Functionality

There's a chap at Edinburgh who's done nano-ish neuro-surgery already.

Get some tiny iron filings, and link them to a molecule that likes cancer cells only. Introduce to the brain's bloodstream. Wait. Once the iron has bound to the surface of the naughty cancer, or possibly entered the cancer cells, stick patient in MRI scanner.

Giant magnet makes iron filings zoom around, and heat up. Heated cells are damaged and less resistant to chemo-therapy. Zap.

This allows you to treat inoperable tumours, with low doses, minimising damage.

What's even better, is that the iron stays in place. So if/when the tumour comes back - you just shove 'em back in the MRI, rinse and repeat.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow those Penn state guys really like to stick their gold rods everywhere!

I kid, I kid, that's just a joke, we like to have fun around here, here's my head shot?

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JDX
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My hope is that nanotech is the game-changer for medicine within my lifetime, the biggest thing since antibiotics.

My fear is it is the medical equivalent of sustainable fusion power. Always just around the corner.

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Thumb Up

This could be the start of something small

It's got power and control (sort of)

Now needs logic and sensing.

But still v0.1 tech.

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Bronze badge

Here's how a bacterium propels itself inside a cell

http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001766

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method of control?

The article only mentioned nanomotors, which makes me wonder how such a device can be controlled.

I cannot imagine someone on the outside 'steering' it or anything.

At those sizes (3 micrometers x 300 nanometers) i doubt they can fit any kind of control-mechanism in using current technology.

Anyways, enough of my rambles, i think i am going to watch Innerspace with Dennis Quaid to get an idea of the future :P

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"...internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before..."

Translation: We thumped it to see what happened.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "...internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before..."

Most human scientific progress has resulted from either thumping things together or poking them with sharp sticks.

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Silver badge

Re: "...internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before..."

Bzzzzzzzz.... ouch.

Next time I think I'll try using a non-conducting stick for my investigations...

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Re: "...internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before..."

Or kicking them hard. While drinking beer.

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Boffin

I for one ...

... welcome our nano-scale, sonically-propelled overlords.

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HeLa Cells

There's an interesting podcast about the HeLa cells mentioned in the article here

http://www.radiolab.org/story/91716-henriettas-tumor/

Well at least it was completely new information and interesting to me.

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Anonymous Coward

How is a rod a motor?

(I really don't know.)

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Re: How is a rod a motor?

Could be a Hot Rod?

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