One extremely promising and emerging field of research is nano-biotechnology. Nano-biotechnology could potentially be an extremely powerful tool in our quest for a longer, healthier life.
Senescent cells are known to be essential in multiple aging processes. Getting rid of these problem cells is, therefore, something we could do to potentially increase our healthy lifespan, and nanoscale robots may help us do just this.
Detecting senescent cells
Senescent cells have different levels of gene expression and mitochondrial function, different epigenetics, and a different secretome profile. Therefore, they secrete specific molecules in specific quantities , and this is very important for detecting and targeting them.
The detection and targeting of these senescent cells is somewhat difficult and currently not very precise . This is due to there being different types of senescent cells, including a non-chronic (non-damaging) type as well as changes in senescent cells that also occur in healthy cells. Currently, the most common way to detect senescent cells is by measuring SA-beta-gal activity. SA-beta-gal is an isoform of the beta-galactosidase enzyme (an enzyme normally responsible for the breakdown of sugars known as beta-galactosides). This isoform is widely expressed by senescent cells and is optimally active at pH 6.0, thus making it possible to detect these cells by assaying them for the presence of SA-beta-gal. However, this has major limitations, as SA-beta-gal can be expressed in non-senescent cells under certain conditions and is absent in some senescent cells . Other markers for senescence, such as lipofuscin (pigment granules), have been used, but they also have limitations, such as not being exclusive to senescent cells. Regardless of the limitations, SA-beta-gal is a good marker for senescence until better markers are discovered. Once detected, we have to get to these cells, bind to them specifically, and kill them.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
News This Week
Frank Boehm: Publication of our new paper “Human Brain/Cloud Interface” in Frontiers in Neuroscience
Contributors: Nuno R. B. Martins, Amara Angelica, Yuriy Svidinenko, Frank J. Boehm, Ioan Opris, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Melanie Swan, Steven A. Garan, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, Tad Hogg, Robert A. Freitas Jr. et al Excerpt [...]
Abstract The progressive growth in nanotechnology approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics, especially for cancer, necessitates training physicians in nanoethics. This article explains why it is critical for medical education to include instruction in [...]
The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs. In May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A [...]
In a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and Northeastern University, scientists have developed a model for predicting the shape of metal nanocrystals or "islands" sandwiched between or below two-dimensional (2D) [...]
Should we be prepared to change the population composition of a species in order to wipe out a disease that is a terrible burden to mankind? During a well-attended working breakfast organised by the [...]
A new study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators finds that radiation therapy may increase the uptake of therapeutic nanoparticles by glioblastomas, raising the possibility of using both growth-factor-targeted and immune-system-based therapies against [...]
Taking a cue from biological cells, researchers from MIT, Columbia University, and elsewhere have developed computationally simple robots that connect in large groups to move around, transport objects, and complete other tasks. This [...]
Nearly a third of physicians will be sued at least once in their careers — most commonly for an error in diagnosis. Medical errors are also the third-leading cause of death in the United [...]
Inventors and scientists have been continuously working towards reducing the size of technological components. Room-sized computers to laptops that are slimmer than a pane of glass? It’s done. Huge bulky telephones to smartphones that [...]
You have witnessed a variety of nano-devices that were designed for tasks including delivering medicines within the body. All of them used to move in a variety of ways. However, the latest nano-device is [...]
Netra Rajesh is an undergraduate Engineering Science student specializing in Biomedical Systems Engineering. She is currently on her Professional Experience Year (PEY) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where her research lies at the [...]