Thursday, July 2, 2009

SEPARATING THE HYPE AND THE BUZZ 070109

More.

We have one breakthrough and twelve (12) noteworthy articles and report and a pile of honorable mentions. This is the last post for a week until I can catch up on a stack of reports.


BREAKTHROUGH

U of Georgia researchers have developed a successful way to grow molecular wire brushes that conduct electrical charges, a first step in developing biological fuel cells that could power pacemakers, cochlear implants and prosthetic limbs.
See EurekaAlert, June 19, 2009 and Chemical Science, June 5, 2009.

NEWSWORTHY

1. EARLY DETECTION OF BLINDNESS.
Researchers from the U Kentucky claim to be able to detect abnormal blood vessels in the living eyes of mice by attaching anti-CCR3 antibodies to tiny semiconductor nanocrystals called "quantum dots" and injecting these into the mice. Early detection may improve treatment regimens.
See Nanowerk, June 15, 2009 and Nature, June 14, 2009.

2. DRUG DELIVERY
Cornell and Shenzhen U researchers claim to have developed a technique that could one day be used to deliver vaccines, drugs or genetic material to treat cancer and blood and immunological disorders. The research involved nanocapsules containing a small-interfering RNA.
See Cornell Chronicle, June 25, 2009 and Gene Therapy Online, June 25, 2009.

3. REACH HAVING CLASSIFICATION ISSUES
Confusion over classification of nanomaterials under the Reach chemicals legislation has led to two groups of companies using different criteria to submit data on carbon nanotubes to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Currently there is so much uncertainty about dealing with nanomaterials under the Reach regulations (which came into force in 2008) that different groups of companies are forming separate data-gathering bodies, called substance information exchange forums (SIEFs), to deal with carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
See Chemistry World, June 16, 2009.

4. EPA ISSUES NANO RULE
U.S. EPA issued a final rule for carbon nanotubes under the Toxic Substances and Control Act, subjecting them to a "new-use" regulation that gives the agency greater authority. Makers of certain carbon nanotubes, as well as those of 21 other chemicals, now must notify EPA at least 90 days before starting manufacturing. The rule takes effect Aug. 24.
See EENewsNet, June 24, 2009.

5. NANO TERM ADDED VALUE OR NOT
A researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research in Norway claims companies may be less inclined to highlight nanomaterials in their products. While his sample is small, he searched a website run by a major international cosmetics company, using keywords like 'nanotechnology' and 'nano', to estimate how many products contain nanotechnology. His search turned up 29 products in 2007, but when he repeated the same exercise recently, there were zero hits. This, he said, suggests that companies may now view 'nano' as a negative label rather than an added value. Another interpretation could be these products were never marketed or their composition changed to reflect any negative association OR companies have decided to simply move on, add nano-ingredients, and fail to inform consumers. Interesting theses.
See EurActiv, June 15, 2009


6. MAKING SILVER NON-CYTOTOXIC.
Researchers at the U of Trieste described the development of a novel non-cytotoxic nanocomposite hydrogel material based on natural polysaccharides and silver nanoparticles for antimicrobial applications.
See Nanowerk, June 29, 2009 and Biomacromolecules, April 30, 2009.


7. NANO-ALUMINUM AND AGGLOMERATION.
San Diego researchers found that the aluminum particles quickly clustered and stuck together. They also found that the surface charge of the particles affected their movement through soil.
See Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2009

8. CNTS COULD HURT PLANTS.
U Lancester researchers have shown that carbon nanotubes can pierce plant root cells, providing a rapid route for other pollutants to infiltrate the cellular structure of plants.
See Chemistry World, June 10, 2009

9. BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS.
Washington U research claim photoacoustic imaging with a carbon single-walled nanotube (SWNT) contrast agent could provide a non-invasive alternative to sentinel lymph-node biopsy.
See NanotechWeb, June 16, 2009 and Physics in Medicine and Biology, 2009.


10. NANO AND LUNG CANCER (IN VITRO).

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing reported several types of PAMAMs (ployamidoamine dendrimers) killed human lung cells in the lab.
See Nanowerk, June 11, 2009 and Journal of Molecular Cell Biology, June 11, 2009.

11. ANOTHER NANO-ASBESTOS CLAIM (SORT OF).
The Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) outlines disturbing parallels between asbestos and nanotechnology in order to illustrate the eight needed steps that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) should take to improve disclosures made to investors.
See Nanowerk, June 15, 2009.

12. NANOPARTICLE UPTAKE IN MARINE ECOSYSTEMS.
Researchers at the U of South Carolina observed that clams and biofilms accumulating the most nanoparticles by mass. This could be a serious problem if the same thing happened in the natural environment because biofilms are used as food sources for several different kinds of detritivores, some of which are prey for larger arthropods and small fish.
See NanoTechWeb, June 24, 2009 and Nature Nanotechnology, June 21, 2009.

HONORABLE MENTION


NEW SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA
Researchers from the U Wisconsin found that the public tends to focus on the benefits — rather than potential environmental and health risks — when making decisions about nanotechnology regulation, whereas scientists mainly focus on potential risks and economic values.
See Press Release, June 19, 2009 and the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, June 19, 2009.

LIKELY NANO-SCAM IN AFRICA
An alleged nano product marketed in Uganda looks like a piece of glass and costs between Shs 500,000- 1,000,000. The glass claims to make sick people get nutrients from its use. One pours water and drinks. It is also claimed that carrying it in one’s pocket makes them healthier.
See Sunday Monitor, June 28, 2009

NEW MAGAZINE
India has published a new monthly magazine in nanotechnology called NANO DIGEST. If anyone has a PDF version, let me know or send it along.
See IndiaPRWire, June 15, 2009

STAR TREK TRANSPORTERS????
Stanford researchers pass nanoparticles through rock. With video (at least for now).
See ABC, June 28, 2009.

PAKISTAN AND NANOSCIENCE
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) will spend US$196.7 million — 30 per cent more than last year — on scientific projects and scholarships in public-sector universities. Much of this money will be used to upgrade science libraries and laboratories and establish centers of excellence for nanotechnology, endocrinology, virology and bioinformatics.
See Science and Development Network, June 29, 2009.

MORE SOLAR
A team of researchers from U Florida and Savannah River National Laboratory are studying how nanostructured coatings mimic structures found in nature that increase the usefulness of solar energy.
See Nanowerk, June 25, 2009.

WAR ON SLEEPING SICKNESS
Researchers at the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) in Nairobi and counterparts from the EU are using nanoscience principles to develop more effective ways of diagnosing and treating trypanosomiasis disease in humans, which is also known as nagana in livestock. Experts have said they may develop a more effective kit for detecting sleeping sickness and medication against the condition in the next three years.
See Daily Nation, July 1, 2009.

RUSSIA AND JAPAN CONNECTION
RUSNANO and the Japanese Ministery of Economy, Trade and Industry, have agreed to establish a workgroup for cooperation in the field of nanotechnology. The decision was made at a meeting during a visit to Japan by a delegation of RUSNANO. The initiative for the agreement was issued by the Japanese.
See RUSNANO, June 17, 2009.


EU AND MALAYSIA CONNECTION
The European Union has called on Malaysian Research and Technological Development (RTD) institutions to fully utilize the EU New Framework Programme 7, aimed at boosting innovation and research capacity. This would build on the five projects already underway. Climate change including technology transfer, carbon capture and storage, bio fuels and renewable energy, nanotechnology and ICT were highlighted as priority areas for EU-Malaysia cooperation.
See Bernama, June 10, 2009.

ANOTHER ROADMAP – PHILIPPINES.
The Philippines revealed a 10-year strategy to create a commercially viable industry using nanotechnology.
See Inquirer.net, June 17, 2009.

HONG KONG AND NANO-INDUSTRY.
Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Fund established in 1999 with an allocation of 5 billion HK dollars (645.79 million U.S. dollars has supported about 1,400 projects with a total investment of about 4 billion HK dollars (516.63 million U.S. dollars), biotech and nanotech account for more than 12 percent of the funding. Projects that have been supported include those in nanomaterials, nanoelectronics, green nanotech, nanotech for textile and apparel applications, and nanotech for medical and healthcare applications.
See Xinhuanet, June 22, 2009.

BAYER BUILDING NANOTUBE PLANT IN GERMANY
Bayer MaterialScience has begun construction of a new facility for the production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in Chempark Leverkusen, Germany. The new plant will have a capacity of 200 tons/year. The company will invest about 22 million euros in the planning, development and construction of the plant.
See Nanoforum, June 10, 2009.

NANO AND SURFBOARDS.
Entropy Surfboards and Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) have teamed up to deliver a new line of custom-made surfboards that incorporate carbon nanotubes from BMS.
See Nanoforum, May 22, 2009.


NANOCRYSTALLINE CELULOSE AND THE FORESTRY INDUSTRY

Nanocrystalline cellulose, or NCC for short, has yet to make an impact on the marketplace, but in a few years companies could find commercial uses in goods as diverse as lipstick to SUVs because of properties such as strength and toughness, biodegradability and ability to “tune” colors without dye.
See Edmonton Journal, June 24, 2009.

Going for Lasik surgery soon. Might be due to reading all these nano-articles.

Yikes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SEPARATING THE HYPE AND THE BUZZ 052509

I must remark how impressed the Meridian coverage of nano has been.

NEWSWORTHY


1. CANCER CELLS: DETECT, TRACK AND KILL

Researchers at the U of Arkansas demonstrated that it is possible not only to monitor and detect nanomaterials moving through the circulation, but also to detect single cancer cells tagged with carbon nanotubes. This study was in vivo and in real time and helped explain how these nanoparticles travel through a living system.

See Biooptics World, May 22, 2009.


2. SMELLING LUNG CANCER

Researchers in Haifa and another team at U. Bari have experimented with the use of nanotechnology sensors to detect the presence of cancer by "smelling" air molecules in the breath of patients with and chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD).

See Associated Content, May 25, 2009.


3. DRUG ABSORPTION ADVANCE.

U South Australia researchers are reporting a potential solution to a problem that limits the human body’s ability to absorb and use medications for heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, cancer and other conditions. It is a “nano-hybrid microcapsule” that enables the stomach to absorb more of these so-called “poorly soluble” medicines

See Nanowerk, May 27, 2009 and Molecular Pharmaceutics, June 1, 2009.


4. NANORUST TEST IN MEXICO.

Researchers at Rice U Rice University researchers announced that the first field tests of "nanorust," the university's revolutionary, low-cost technology for removing arsenic from drinking water, will begin later this year in Guanajuato.

See Eureka Alert, May 27, 2009


5. MORE EFFICIENT FUEL CELL CATALYST

Researchers at Washington U have developed a technique for a bimetallic fuel cell catalyst that is efficient, robust and two-to-five times more effective than commercial catalysts.

See Press Release, May 14, 2009


6. MERCURY SENSOR

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology researchers have used a breakthrough nanotechnology to create a pioneering sensor that can precisely measure one of the world’s most poisonous substances, mercury.

See Press Release, May 27, 2009 and Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics, 2009


7. ZINC OXIDE AND BRAIN DAMAGE IN MICE.

Researchers from Shanghai U reported zinc oxide nanoparticles can damage or kill stem cells in the brains of mice. Their findings may suggest that further precautions should be taken to protect people working with nanomaterials.

See NatureAsia, May 11, 2009 and Nanotechnology, 2009.


8. IMPLANTABLE DEVICE FOR CONTINUOUS CANCER MONITORING.

Researchers at MIT have designed implants using magnetic nanoparticles that could be implanted at the time of biopsy, could also be tailored to monitor chemotherapy agents, allowing doctors to determine whether cancer drugs are reaching the tumors. They can also be designed to measure pH (acidity) or oxygen levels, which reveal tumor metabolism and how it is responding to therapy.

See MIT News, May 12, 2009 and Biosensors and Bioelectronics, April 15, 2009.


HONORARY MENTION


ARAB PROPOSAL TO DISCUSS NANOTECHNOLOGY

The proposal for establishing an Arab Council on Nanotechnology (ACON) was

presented by Al-Quds University’s Mukhles Sowwan while discussing about

‘Nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing: manufacturing: Towards balanced plans for responsible worldwide use.’

See Meridian Institute, May 20, 2009.


UN FORUM TO ADDRESS NANOTECHNOLOGY

A UN global chemicals forum on safe and sustainable chemicals management agreed to address four emerging policy issues in the sector: nanotech, e-waste, chemicals in everyday products and lead in paint

See EuroActiv, May 29, 2009.


IOM LAUNCHES ENPRA.

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) is pleased to announce the launch of ENPRA (Engineered NanoParticle Risk Assessment) - a major new European Framework 7 project to develop and implement a novel integrated approach for engineered nanoparticle (ENP) risk assessment.

See IOM World, May 2009.


ASPIRIN SUBSTITUTE

Researchers from Banaras Hindu U are reporting discovery of a potential new alternative to aspirin, ReoPro, and other anti-platelet agents used widely to prevent blood clots in coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.

See Nanowerk, May 27, 2009 and ACS Nano, June 23, 2009


AEROSOL ANTIBIOTICS.

Researchers at Washington U demonstrated the effectiveness of antibiotics

by allowing the medicine to be put into an aerosol form in mice.

See Forbes, May 15, 2009.


MODELING TO PREDICT CONTAMINATION

Researcher at Duke U with colleagues at UCLA found a way to estimate the quantity of titanium oxides in the environment by combining science and engineering knowledge with business and economic modeling.

See Press Release, May 20, 2009.


PATENT LANDSCAPE REPORT

The UK Intellectual Property Office has compiled a nanotechnology patent landscape for the UK.

See Nanowerk, May 12, 2009 and GlobalWatch Online.


GATES AWARD

Researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Cape Town (CSIR), won a grant from the Gates Foundation for a proposal to use cutting-edge “nanotechnology” to save the lives of tuberculosis patients who forget to take their pills.

See The Times, May 24, 2009.


CUBA AND SOUTH AFRICA AGREEMENT

South Africa and Cuba have agreed to work together in the field of technology. the focus would be on biotechnology, climate change, renewable energy technologies and nanotechnology.

See News 24, May 19, 2009.


BULGARIA AND IBM AGREEMENT

Bulgaria and IBM signed an agreement for a $35billion research center to develop nanotechnologies as part of Bulgaria's drive to boost competitiveness.

See The Guardian, May 22, 2009.


More coming. The holiday weekend is almost upon us, but the nanoworld doesn't stop for anyone, so it seems. I am going to take a few day to vet the new FOE-Australia report on silver.


SEPARATING THE HYPE AND THE BUZZ 053009

Things let up a bit though a lot of this seems interesting. It's been difficult since we lost postings from Julia Moore from WWI-PEW and the UCSB folks who forwarded listings.

Good news has been that both Nanowerk and NanotechWeb have been doing a great job covering the nano-frontier.

The new PCAST - Co-Chair, John Holdren, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy AND Co-Chair, Eric Lander, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard U.

• Rosina Bierbaum, Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.
• Christine Cassel, President of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
• Christopher Chyba, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton U.
• S. James Gates Jr., Professor of Physics,
• Shirley Ann Jackson is the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
• Richard Levin, President of Yale U. and economist.
• Chad Mirkin, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern U.
• Mario Molina, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California.
• Ernest J. Moniz, Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, MIT
• Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer at Microsoft Corporation.
• William Press, Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.
• Maxine Savitz, retired general manager of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell, Inc.
• Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc.
• Daniel Schrag, Professor of Geology, Harvard University.
• David E. Shaw, Cief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research, LLC.
• Harold Varmus, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
• Ahmed Zewail, Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Caltech.


NEWSWORTHY

1. NANO SPENDING ADJUSTMENT
According to Cientific, governments will be spending nearly $10 billion on nanotechnology research in 2009, but despite this huge figure government spending has begun to slow down. Spending will only grow by 9.3% from 2008-2012 compared with the 130% increase witnessed from 2004-2008. Countries are now emphasizing the importance of application-driven research in this emerging field.
See NanoTech Wire, May 1, 2009.

2. PORTABLE X-RAY.
Researchers from the Advanced Defect-Characterization Research Group, the
Research Institute of Instrumentation Frontier of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), In cooperation with Dialight Japan Co., Ltd. and Life Technology Research Institute, Inc., has developed practical portable X-ray sources with a cold-cathode electron source using carbon nanostructures.
See Nanowerk, April 24, 2009.

3. DIABETES ALERT
Chinese researchers from Nankai U in Tianjin have developed polymer nanoparticles that can release insulin in response to changes in glucose concentration, creating a potential treatment for diabetes.
See Chemistry World, May 7, 2009.

4. STD ALERT
Researchers at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have now designed a unique method for inducing immunity to chlamydia infection. The findings could accelerate progress toward the development of a vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis infections. Their study described the use of a novel vaccine platform that utilizes an engineered nanoparticle delivery system.
See Eureka Alert, April 29, 2009 and PLoS ONE, April 30 ,2009.

5. NIOSH UPDATES ON WORKPLACE SAFETY.
The document, Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology, reiterates the agency's recommendation that employers take measures to control occupational exposure in the manufacture and industrial use of engineered nanomaterials.
See Risk and Insurance, May 4, 2009 and NIOSH

6. NEW VACCINES
Liquidia Technologies presented data at the National Foundation of Infectious Disease (NFID) Annual Meeting which supports new insight into a technology that could provide more safe and effective vaccines for a wide variety of diseases. Results of the study show that the desired immune response elicited by a vaccine can be enhanced up to 10-fold when the vaccine protein is linked to nano-particles of a particular size and shape.
See Press Release, April 28 2009.

7. MORE CANCER AND GOLD.
Researchers at MIT claim to have developed tiny gold particles that can home in on tumors, and then, by absorbing energy from near-infrared light and emitting it as heat, destroy tumors with minimal side effects.
See MIT News, May 4, 2009.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

AUSSIES PUSH FOR NANO LABELING.
The Minister for Science and Medical Research for the NSW Government will push for national mandatory labeling of nano-sized particles used in workplaces and improved testing facilities to assess the safety of new nanomaterials.
See Sydney Morning News, May 5, 2009.

STAPH INFECTIONS TARGETED
Researchers at Yeshiva U have combined their revolutionary new drug-delivery system involving biocompatible nanoparticles with a powerful antimicrobial agent to treat potentially deadly drug-resistant staph infections in mice.
See Press Release and April 30, 2009 and Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 23, 2009.

INTEL AND SAUDIS SIGN AGREEMENT
Intel and King Abdul-Aziz City of Science and Technology (KACST), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed a collaborative research agreement to establish CENA, a world-class Center of Excellence in Nano-manufacturing Applications.
See AMEInfo, April 27, 2009.

USING NANO TO COMBAT DRUG RESISTANCE.
Researchers at Northeastern U combine two different anticancer agents in one nanoscale construct, providing a one-two punch that can prove lethal to such resistant cells. The nanoemulsion entraps both paclitaxel and curcumin.
See NCI News, April 2009 and Molecular Pharmaceutics, March 11, 2009.

NANO AND BLADDER REGENERATION
Brown U researcher are using nanotechnology is in regenerative medicine, particularly by creating nanometer pores and associated nanometer surface features to improve bladder tissue growth while inhibiting bladder calcium stone formation, which is a common disease affecting 5.2% of adults in the US with a high rate of recurrence.
See NanotechWeb, April 23, 2009.

EU STUDENT OUTREACH
NANOYOU will design and undertake a communication and outreach program in nanotechnology (NT) aimed at European youth. The project will reach 11-18 year olds through school programs to take place in at least 20 EU Member States and Associated States. Additional programs aimed at young adults aged 19-25 will be offered in science centers.
See ZSI Release, June 9, 2009

Enjoy. More on the way.