Eavesdropping on cells’ chats with nano-sensors

July 18th, 2011 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 18 (IANS) Using nanotechnology, researchers successfully attached sensors to cell surfaces to monitor single cell chats in real-time. This first-time cutting edge innovation provides the ability to further understand complex cell biology, track transplanted cells and develop more effective drugs.

The cell-signalling sensors in current use are limited to measuring the activity in the bulk environment that a group of cells are in.

“We can now monitor how individual cells ‘talk’ to one another in real-time with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution,” says Jeffrey Karp, senior study author.

Karp is the co-director of the Centre for Regenerative Therapeutics (ReGen Rx) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

“This allows us to understand signalling between cells and interactions with drugs in great detail that should have broad implications for basic science and drug discovery,” adds Karp, according to a Harvard statement.

In this study, researchers used nanotechnology to anchor a sensor to the membrane of individual cells, allowing them to monitor soluble signals within the cellular nano environment.

“Once this is refined as a tool, and used to study drug interactions with cells on a regular basis, there is potential that it may be used for personalized medicine in the future,” said Weian Zhao, who led the study at ReGen Rx.

-Indo-Asian News service
st/pg/vt

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