Gates Foundation funds innovative global health projects including sweat-triggered vaccine delivery using nanoparticles

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a few days ago 78 grants of US$100,000 each for new innovative global health projects. Among those aiming at more effective vaccines, one involves nanoparticles : “Sweat-triggered vaccine delivery: Carlos Alberto Guzman of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany with Claus-Michael Lehr and Steffi Hansen of the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research will develop nanoparticles that penetrate the skin through hair follicles and burst upon contact with human sweat to release vaccines.” (press release)

[[[ Additional link suggested by Nanocolors :

# Nano & vaccines in patents since 2000 ]]]

The nanotech gamble, by Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider, Senior Public Health Correspondent for AOL News, recently authored a series of articles entitled “The nanotech gamble – Bold science. Big money.Growing risks“. The key findings are summarized in this article.

[[[ Additional link suggested by Nanocolors :

# Nanotech risks in biomedical publications since 2000 ]]]

Dresden and Grenoble nanotechnology clusters strengthen their cooperation

In order to better face competition – especially from Asia – the two most important European nanoelectronics & nanotechnology clusters (Dresden in Germany and Grenoble in France) will strengthen their cooperation in the coming months.  They will set up common expert committees regarding education, R&D, industrial coordination, SMEs and environment ; the first common projects are expected to be launched by the end of 2010 (article).

Modified phytoglycogen nanoparticles to protect oil in foods from oxidation

A researcher from Purdue University sucessfully modified the surface of phytoglycogen nanoparticles to make them behave “like an emulsifier, creating phytoglycogen octenyl succinate, or PG-OS. PG-OS is thicker and denser than commonly used emulsifiers, creating a better defense from oxygen, free radical and metal ions, which cause lipid oxidation“. His work also showed that ε-polylysine, a polypeptide much smaller than the PG-OS nanoparticles, can be added to the oil droplets to aid in the protection from oxidation : “PG-OS nanoparticles with ε-polylysine significantly increased the amount of time it took for oxidation to ruin the oil droplets, in some cases doubling the shelf life of the model product“. The main applications of these findings would be in systems  in which the oxidation of lipids is a concern, especially in the food, cosmetics, or nutritional supplement industries (article).

Polymer nanoparticles to increase oil extraction yields

Russian Rusnano and British BP will use nanotechnologies to increase oil production efficiency in Russia. They will implement a project called “Brightwater” which involves the use of polymer nanoparticles to increase pressure in oil layers and thereby increase extraction yields (see Rianovosti article here).  

ANEC/BEUC inventory of products claiming to contain nanoparticles available on the EU market

ANEC (European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation) and BEUC (Bureau européen des unions de consommateurs) released this month on their websites an inventory of consumer products claiming to contain nanoparticles available on the EU market. This inventory shows for now examples of 151 products ; ANEC and BEUC intend to update it regularly. Here is how the products distribute by categories :

appliances : 5 kitchen appliances and 2 laundry/clothing care products

automotive : 24 maintenance products and accessories

cross cutting : 11 coatings and 20 other products

electronics and computers : 4 products

– food and drink : 9 supplements and 1 other product

– products for children : 2 products

health and fitness : 7 clothing products, 32 personal care products and 3 sporting goods

home and garden : 14 cleaning products, 10 construction materials and 7 other products.

Videos and presentations from the French nanotech debate

Here are two useful sources of information for getting a feeling of the ongoing French nanotech debate :

– videos related to the debate, including video summaries of some of the public meetings are available here ;

– slideshare versions of presentations delivered at the meetings are available here ; although very short (too short to my mind), some provide interesting elements.

[[[ Additional link suggested by Nanocolors :

# Program of the French nanotech debate ]]]

Gold nanoparticles and magnetic microparticles to detect an indicator of prostate cancer

A new assay developped by US and Austrian researchers uses gold nanoparticles and DNA as amplification agents to detect prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein associated with prostate cancer. The immunoassay is based on the use of 1) PSA antibody-functionalised gold nanoparticles decorated with DNA strand and 2) magnetic microparticles functionalised with a second PSA antibody. In solution, these two particles both bind to PSA ; the probes can then be magnetically separated thanks to the presence of the magnetic particles. DNA is then cleaved from the gold nanoparticles surface and its quantity (measured owing to a scanometric assay) indirectly indicates the level of PSA initially present in the sample. According to the researchers, this assay is ~300 times more sensitive than other commercial assays (see for example this article for more details).

[[[ Additional links suggested by Nanocolors :

# Gold nanoparticles in biomedical publications since 2000

# Functionalized nanoparticles in patents since 2000

# Gold nanoparticles for cancer detection animation ]]]

Carbon nanotubes can dramatically accelerate the germination and growth of plants

In the frame of a new study entitled Carbon Nanotubes Are Able To Penetrate Plant Seed Coat and Dramatically Affect Seed Germination and Plant Growth recently published in the online edition of ACS Nano, researchers have demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can penetrate thick seed coat and support water uptake inside tomato seeds. According to some of the authors : “The fact that nanomaterials have a strong influence on the growth kinetics of the plants is a clear indication of the bio-activity of these nanomaterials (…) The activated process of water uptake could be responsible for the significantly faster germination rates and higher biomass production for the seeds and seedlings that were exposed to carbon nanotubes [CNT], although the exact molecular mechanisms of CNT-induced water uptake inside plants seeds are not clear yet and require further investigation (…)” (see Nanowerk article and original publication for further details)

[[[ Additional link suggested by Nanocolors :

# Carbon nanotubes in sci-tech publications since 2000 ]]]

A nanotech sensor to distinguish between the breath of lung cancer patients and healthy controls

Israeli researchers have demonstrated that an array of sensors based on functionalized gold nanoparticles in combination with pattern recognition methods can distinguish between the breath of lung cancer patients and healthy controls. Their study was published online in Nature Nanotechnology on August 30th in an article entitled “Diagnosing lung cancer in exhaled breath using gold nanoparticles” (abstract).

The gold nanoparticles are functionalized with different organic groups that respond to various Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) relevant to lung cancer ; when exposed to biomarkers, the molecularly modified gold particles move apart and, as a result, the resistance of the organic film at their surface increases differently, depending on several factors. Pattern recognition algorithms can then be used to obtain information on the identity, properties and concentration of the vapor exposed to the sensor array from the resistance patterns.  

According to one of the authors of the study : “Our results show great promise for fast, easy, and cost-effective early diagnosis and screening of lung cancer, including different types of primary lung cancer“.

(source : Nanowerk article)