Friday, August 21, 2009
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have created “cups” that are only a few nanometers wide that researchers hope will someday help fight disease. Graduate student and researcher Douglas Kauffman says the “cups” are less than 1-100,000 of the width of a human hair. In the lab those cups were filled with an indicator substance, which makes Kauffman believe they can eventually be used as a sort of medical Trojan Horse. For example, the nano-cups could be filled with a cancer-fighting drug and coated with a substance that will seek out the cancer cells. Once the cups are in the cells they can “pour out” the medicine. Kauffman says if done right, the same coating that makes the cups seek out a cancer cell could make it pass through organs that could be damaged by either the drug or the device. The findings were published in this month’s edition of “Advanced Materials.” Kauffman says the University of Pittsburgh lab will next work on coating the cups and perfecting the release mechanism.