News Article | June 18, 2015
Microchips Biotech has created small chips that, when embedded in patients, provide a daily dose of medication. Microchips Biotech, an MIT spinout that is developing an implant for long-term drug delivery, has announced a first partnership with Teva Pharmaceutical, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs. Teva will pay $35 million to Microchips to commercialize this technology in an undisclosed area. Backing from the pharmaceutical giant stands to bring the technology to a much wider market. Microchips’ core innovation is a fingernail-sized microchip array that can be implanted in the body and programmed to release controlled doses of drugs over months or several years. The dosage or frequency can be changed wirelessly from an external device. Microchips claims the devices can deliver medications for up to 16 years. The idea is that such a system will help patients who are dependent on daily medication better stick to their dosage schedules. It could also be a painless replacement to daily injections as a delivery mechanism. The company is developing the tech for a number of disease areas, but has noted that diabetes, contraceptives for women, and treatments for osteoporosis are initial areas of development. “This alliance with Teva provides a great opportunity to accelerate our technology to the market,” chief executive Cheryl Blanchard said in an email. MIT researchers and entrepreneurs Robert Langer and Michael Cima described the idea of implant-delivered drugs in 1999 in the journal Nature, and founded Microchips in the years following that. In 2012, the company published the results of a first test in people. Eight women with osteoporosis received their medication through the microchip array for four months. The device effectively delivered the same dosage as traditional needles and didn’t cause harm to the women in the study. Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Nidhi on Twitter - Facebook - Google+
News Article | July 18, 2014
Last month LG sent out early Korean LG G3 devices for people to test out. I wrote my first impressions , but without carrier support I couldn't write a review since the experience was too limited. I have now spent a week with the AT&T LG G3 and am very impressed by this latest offering. The Korean LG G2 convinced me to sell my Xperia Z2 and I just sold my one month old Galaxy S5 on Swappa after testing out a US version of the G3. I may be visiting T-Mobile this weekend. The Quad HD display, that's a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with a 538 ppi, is the star of the show here and it really is gorgeous, flawless actually. In addition to the high resolution, the colors look quite natural without being overly bright or too vibrant. You will also find that LG was able to maximize the display size with minimal bezels all around. They did a great job with this on the G2 and now ever better on the G3. You will find an indicator light above the display to the left near the front facing camera. LG actually uses the display to help light up the scene when taking selfies in low light, which I think is a great solution to poor lighting on selfies. There are no buttons on the sides of the G3 with the microUSB port and headphone jack found on the bottom and the IR port on the top. On the back you will find the power and volume buttons positioned just below the camera lens. These buttons were tough for me to press accurately on the G2, but are now redesigned and work very well. It actually is quite natural for your fingers to rest on them when holding the device and if I bought one I think I really could come to prefer them over the traditional side buttons. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5, there are no additional gimmicks like a fingerprint scanner or heart rate monitor. There is a laser focus opening on the opposite side of the LED flash that is designed to help quickly focus the camera. In my experiences that seems to work quite well too. The G3 has a 13 megapixel camera with OIS so it competes well with what we see on Nokia Lumia cameras and challenges the Galaxy S5 for the title of best Android camera. There is one speaker near the bottom of the back and it is rated at 1 watt with a 1.5 watt boost amp so sound is actually pretty good out of the single speaker. The back has a brushed metal look, but is plastic. It is not a cheap plastic though and has curves to make it very comfortable in the hand. The LG G3 runs Android 4.4.2 and is very lightly skinned by LG. I thought LG went a bit overboard with the G2, especially in regards to consuming too much space in the notifications area. That is no longer the case and their UI is minimal while actually giving you benefits. The Knock Code allows you to secure your device and unlock it through a three to eight point pattern. Double-tap to wake is also supported on the G3. They have a helpful Smart Notice feature that comes in the form of a widget that provides the weather, time, date, and some personalized recommendations and reminders. It gives you things such as weather forecasts in conversational language. For example, it might say something like "You may want to wear a light jacket as it cools down this evening." LG also offers an enhanced keyboard that learns your style as you type. I love having a dedicated number row and am finding the prediction on it is scary accurate. I highly recommend you take the time to understand all of the power in the keyboard and think you will find it to be extremely helpful. There is also a new home screen panel called LG Health. I must have turned it off out of the box because I couldn't find it anywhere in the app drawer. It is actually a dedicated homescreen panel that you can enable in the panel management utility. LG Health is designed to track and manage your daily activity with selected exercise options of walking, running, cycling, hiking, and inline skating. When I set it up with my age, height, and weight it showed my target weight as 166.8 pounds. I haven't weighed that low since 8th grade so that is never going to happen. This is one utility that I have to spend many weeks testing to see benefits. Dual windows mode is supported so you can see two apps in split-screen format. Small pop-up windows are also supported and I like the way you can launch them from within the app. For example, you can tap a button on your calendar and then a small calendar is overlaid on the display where you can even change the opaqueness of it. LG really did a fantastic job with their software on the G3, providing real utility without overwhelming the consumer. Unfortunately, AT&T likes to load up all of their apps and you will find at least 12 of them in an AT&T folder right on the G3. I wish carriers would just let you download them from a special segment on the Play Store rather than preloading them without the ability to uninstall them. The LG G3 was fast, the display is gorgeous, the camera takes good shots. Battery life has been fine, but I also see websites that did extensive testing show it suffers a bit due to the high resolution display. I adapted much faster to using the back buttons, compared to the trouble I had with the G2. The device fits well in my hand, especially considering it has a 5.5 inch display. It is light for the size and the curved back helps the fit and finish. To summarize my experiences with the LG G3, here are my pros and cons. The LG G3 is available from AT&T for $199.99 with 2-year contract or $579.99 with no contract. You can also buy it in black or white for $24.17 per month with the AT&T Next program. This is about the same price for the LG G3 on all carriers and is typical for high end smartphones. The LG G3 takes on the Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, Nokia Lumia 930 (not available in the US) and the HTC One (M8). When I look at the competition then it is clear to me that LG hit it out of the ballpark this time and is the leader of the current group of high end smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is excellent and takes fantastic photos while also providing waterproof protection. However, it falls down a bit with gimmicks and a bit too much in the way of software. HTC's camera cannot compete with the GS5 or G3, but is a well made device. The Z2 isn't readily available in the US, but it is quite a large device. The Lumia 930 runs Windows Phone and while the camera is top notch there is still too many missing apps. LG continues to show they have what it takes to compete with the latest and greatest smartphones and the G3 is easily their best effort yet. They are listening to consumers with an update to the button design, lightening of the software elements, and providing a removable battery and microSD card with an ample amount of RAM and internal storage. There are models with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but AT&T and T-Mobile both have the higher end models. I don't think it was necessary to have such a high resolution display, but it does give them something to stand out from the rest and it really does look fantastic. Battery life might take a bit of a hit, but you can charge it up quickly and always carry a spare if you are looking at your display and using the device constantly. I was able to go for most of a day and find the pros far outweigh the cons here. A perfect rating is tough to ever give because it seems no device is ever flawless. LG does come close here with the G3 though and it offers just about everything I could ever want in a smartphone. I understand I can even add Qi charging if I buy a new back so if I visit T-Mobile this weekend I will be hunting down one of those accessories. I held off buying the G2 because I didn't like the back buttons and found their UI too overbearing, especially in the notifications area. These have both been fixed in the G3 and there really is nothing major I can complain about.
Home > Press > NYU Tandon researcher synthesizes hybrid molecule that delivers a blow to malignant cells: Protein-gold nanoparticle hybrid assembles to carry anti-cancer drug, then disassembles for delivery Abstract: A new hybrid molecule developed in the lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering shows promise for treating breast cancer by serving as a "shipping container" for cytotoxic -- or cell-destroying -- chemotherapeutic agents. The protein/polymer-gold nanoparticle (P-GNP) composite can load up with these drugs, carry them to malignant cells, and unload them where they can do the most damage with the least amount of harm to the patient. The hybrid molecule enhances small-molecule loading, sustained release, and increased uptake in breast cancer cells. It is also relatively easy to synthesize. It was developed by Jin Kim Montclare--an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NYU Tandon and an affiliate professor of Chemistry at NYU and Biochemistry at SUNY Downstate--along with collaborators at the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Montclare explained that these abilities make the P-GNP vehicle unique among hybrids. "The protein component has been exclusively developed in our lab; no one else has made such constructs," she said. These protein polymers possess the unique ability to self-assemble in a temperature-sensitive manner while also exhibiting the ability to encapsulate small molecules. As published in the Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology, the team performed tests with in vitro samples of the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line, using the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin, shown experimentally to inhibit cancer cell growth when applied directly to a tumor, as the chemotherapy agent. When compared to the protein polymers alone, the P-GNP hybrid demonstrated a greater than seven-fold increase in curcumin binding, a nearly 50 percent slower release profile, and more than two-fold increase in cellular uptake of curcumin. This is an important achievement, given the difficulty in delivering chemotherapeutic compounds to their targets because such agents tend to be hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve easily in water. And the more potent they are, the more hydrophobic they tend to be, said Montclare, who recently received the "Rising Star Award" from the American Chemical Society's Women Chemist Committee. "The P-GNPs are able to solubilize the hydrophobic small molecule through both the protein domain itself, and the gold nanoparticles. Thus, P-GNP can carry higher payloads, enabling it to deliver more drug," she said. She also found an easier way to build these hybrid molecules. Most literature describes a process involving high temperatures and pressures, and harsh chemistry. But Montclare is able to synthesize P-GNP in one operation thanks to histidine tags, which, she said, are "responsible for 'templating' the GNPs, making the synthesis a possibility under ambient temperature and pressure. So we do it all at once because the protein itself crystallizes the gold right from a solution of gold salts to generate GNP right on the end of the protein polymer." The next step is to observe efficacy by injecting P-GNP complexes directly into a variety of mouse cancer models. Montclare said human testing of P-GNP is still years away. ### Outside funding support was provided by the National Science Foundation, Shiffrin Meyer Breast Cancer Discovery Fund, and the National Institute of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. About NYU Tandon School of Engineering The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the NYU School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to programs at its main campus in downtown Brooklyn, it is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and it operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
News Article | October 21, 2015
Researchers from the University of Leeds said that they will be creating small robots that could identify utility problems, and in turn, would cause minimal public disruption. They will first build drones that could perch on street lamps, fix potholes, and go through pipes to inspect and repair utility problems that may arise. "We want to make Leeds the first city in the world to have zero disruption from street works," said Professor Phil Purnell, lead researcher from the university's School of Civil Engineering. This project could pave the way for "self-repairing cities", researchers say. In detail, the project will focus on three areas. The first is Perch and Repair where drones similar to birds can perform tasks such as replacing light bulbs on street lamps. The second is Perceive and Patch where drones can inspect, diagnose, repair and prevent potholes found on roads. The last one is Fire and Forget where drones can go into sewers and perform tasks such as metering and inspection. Rob Richardson, director of the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems at the university, explained that the robots they are developing will undergo precision repairs and avoid the need for any large construction vehicles to be used. He said that to have an efficient system, robots must learn to detect weaknesses and faults early and then quickly complete smart repairs. The university's engineering team will work with UK Collaboration for Research and Infrastructure and Cities as well as with Leeds City Council to test the initial drones before being used in the city. The team will also look into the environmental, economic, political and social impact of their new project. The university's project is under the Engineering Grand Challenges program which aims to solve major engineering and science problems. A few weeks before the announcement from the University of Leeds, accountancy firm Deloitte and the University of Oxford released a research that delved into the possibility that most jobs today will become automated in the future. Most likely, office jobs that require spreadsheets and reports will be computerized, as well as jobs including factory work and taxi driving.
Got rope? Then try this experiment: Cross both ends, left over right, then bring the left end under and out, as if tying a pair of shoelaces. If you repeat this sequence, you get what’s called a “granny” knot. If, instead, you cross both ends again, this time right over left, you’ve created a sturdier “reef” knot. The configuration, or “topology,” of a knot determines its stiffness. For example, a granny knot is much easier to undo, as its configuration of twists creates weaker forces within the knot, compared with a reef knot. For centuries, sailors have observed such distinctions, choosing certain knots over others to secure vessels — largely by intuition and tradition. Now researchers at MIT and Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris have analyzed the mechanical forces underpinning simple knots, and come up with a theory that describes how a knot’s topology determines its mechanical forces. The researchers carried out experiments to test how much force is required to tighten knots with an increasing number of twists. They then compared their observations with their theoretical predictions, and found that the theory accurately predicted the force needed to close a knot, given its topology and the diameter and stiffness of the underlying strand. “This is the first time, to the best of our knowledge, that precision model experiments and theory have been tied together to untangle the influence of topology on the mechanics of knots,” the researchers write in a paper appearing in the journal Physical Review Letters. Pedro Reis, the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Associate Professor in Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, says the new knot theory may provide guidelines for choosing certain knot configurations for a given load-bearing application, such as braided steel cables, or surgical stitching patterns. “Surgeons, of course, have a great deal of experience, and they know this knot is better for this stitching procedure than this knot,” Reis says. “But can we further inform the process? While maybe these knots are used, we might show that some other knots, done in a certain way, may be preferable.” Reis’ colleague, French theoretician Basile Audoly, originally took on the problem of relating a knot’s topology and mechanical forces. In previous work, Audoly, with his own colleague Sébastien Neukirch, had developed a theory based on observations of tightening a very simple, overhand knot, comprising only one twist. They then verified the theory with a slightly more complex knot with two twists. The theory, they concluded, should predict the forces required to tighten even more complex knots. However, when Reis, together with his students Khalid Jawed and Peter Dieleman, performed similar experiments with knots of more than two twists, they found that the previous theory failed to predict the force needed to close the knots. Reis and Audoly teamed up to develop a more accurate theory for describing the topology and mechanics of a wider range of knots. The researchers created knots from nitonol, a hyper-elastic wire that, even when bent at dramatic angles, will return to its original shape. Nitonol’s elasticity and stiffness are well known. To generate various topologies, the researchers tied knots with multiple overhand twists, creating increasingly longer braids. They then clamped one end of each braid to a table, used a mechanical arm to simultaneously pull the knot tight, and measured the force applied. From these experiments, they observed that a knot with 10 twists requires about 1,000 times more force to close than a knot with just one. “When Pedro Reis showed me his experiments on knots with as much as 10 twists, and told me that they could resist such a high force, this first appeared to me to be far beyond what simple equations can capture,” Audoly says. “Then, I thought it was a nice challenge.” To come up with a theory to predict the forces observed, Reis and Audoly went through multiple iterations between the experiments and theory to identify the ingredients that mattered the most and simplify the model. Eventually, they divided the problem in two parts, first characterizing the knot’s loop, then its braid. For the first part, the researchers quantified the aspect ratio, or shape of a loop, given the number of twists in a braid: The more twists in a braid, the more elliptical the loop. The team then studied the forces within the braid. As a braid, or twist, is symmetric, the researchers simplified the problem by only considering one strand of the braid. “Then we write an energy for the system that includes bending, tension, and friction for that one helical strand, and we are able to determine the shape,” Audoly says. “Once we have the shape, we can match it to this loop, and ultimately we get the overall force displacement response of the system.” To test the theory, Reis plugged the experiments’ measurements into the theory to generate predictions of force. “When we put the data through the machinery of the theory, the predictions and the dataset all collapse onto this master curve,” Reis says. “Once we have this master curve, you can give me a bending stiffness and diameter of a strand, and the number of turns in the knot, and I can tell you what force is required to close it. Also, we now understand how the knot locks itself up when more turns are added.” Reis envisions multiple applications for the group’s theory, both significant and mundane. “This theory helps us predict the mechanical response of knots of different topologies,” Reis says. “We’re describing the force it requires to close a loop, which is an indicator of the stiffness of the knot. This might help us to understand something as simple as how your headphones get tangled, and how to better tie your shoes, to how the configuration of knots can help in surgical procedures.” This research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.