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1
Nano-tech and medicine / Nanotechnology based Target Drug Delivery Systems
« Last post by PART-4-ES-Javier on 20 September , 2018, 20:25:15 pm »
Hi everybody,

Today I'd like to share with you a brief research I made related with drugs deliverance and how nanotechnology would improve it in the future. I would also like to talk about a specific device of target drug deliverance, called iNG(Injectable Nanoparticle Generator) which would improve the efficacy of some cancer drugs.

Which problems do conventional drug delivery systems have?
First of all, I will introduce you to a new concept called bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the degree an administered drug is absorbed by the body's circulatory system. The bioavailability depends on several factors such as the drug molecules' size or the solubility parameters which are problems that conventional drugs need to face in order to reach an appropiate dose. Moreover, it is essential this measurement in order to determine the correct dosage for a non-intravenous administration of a drug. For example, conventional highly water soluble drugs suffer fluctuations in their concentration due to their desintegration propierties.

How does nanotechnology improves the drug delivery?
Nanotechnology has improved enormously the drug delivery technology and specially the target drug delivery systems. In this research we can find the development of drug nanoparticles and inorganic biodegradable nanocarriers for drug delivery, among other projects. Nanocarriers help in solubilizing drugs, protecting fragile drugs from enzymatic degradation or pH conditions or developing a target release of drug content.

Injectable Nanoparticle Generator
A injectable nanoparticle generator(iNG) is a new drug delivery strategy developed by the scientists at Houston Methodist Research Institute in Texas to remove tumoral cells. It consists of a  polymer made enwrapped in a biodegradable nanoporous silicon material. When injected intravenously, due to natural tropism, they accumulate at the tumors, where the material degrades releasing the drug which enters the cancer cells and triggers it due to the acidic environment inside them. In conclusion, the injectable nanoparticle generator is a target drug delivery system that could replace other therapies such as chemotherapy as it has a higher efficience and reduces secondary effects.

Even though I have introduced you into target drug delivery systems, it is a really extense topic therefore I'd invite you to research about the topic and share more information with us. Here you have some links I used in my research for helping you:
https://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=51090.php

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-bioavailability-4041140
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26974511
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314135923.htm

Hope you find the post either interesting or useful for your project!
All the best,
Javier Herrero, The English Centre, Spain.

 
2
Space trash / Re: Houston, we have a project!
« Last post by PART-3-ES-Pablo on 19 September , 2018, 21:25:22 pm »
Hello everybody!

I know it may be too late for you to include this information in your projects but I thought you might find it interesting and wanted to know about it.

RemoveDEBRIS has successfully achieved its first experiment, the net experiment, which is the first demonstration of active debris removal (ADR) technology in the history of mankind.

This could be a significant step towards finding a solution for eliminating space debris! Don't you think?

The British spacecraft started this mission last Sunday (September 16), which consisted on deploying a target which simulated a piece of debris and then capturing it using a net. Some of the professionals working on this project have already made some comments about this achievement.

Quote from: Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, Director of the Surrey Space Center
We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the net technology. While it might sound like a simple idea, the complexity of using a net in space to capture a piece of debris took many years of planning, engineering and coordination between the Surrey Space Centre, Airbus and our partners – but there is more work to be done. These are very exciting times for us all.

Quote from: Ingo Retat, Airbus RemoveDEBRIS project head
To develop this net technology to capture space debris we spent 6 years testing in parabolic flights, in special drop towers and also thermal vacuum chambers. Our small team of engineers and technicians have done an amazing job moving us one step closer to clearing up low Earth orbit.

The other ADR technologies that were mentioned in the main post will be tested in the incoming months and, hopefully, they will all work as well as the net experiment did.

Here you are a footage of the experiment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvgctXXzIYA

I hope you found this piece of news interesting and encouraging. What do you think about it? Do you think that it's great news or that we shouldn't be so excited about it?

Best regards and good luck :D

Pablo Baceiredo (Spain)
3
Cybernetic prostheses / Re: How Brain Computer Interfaces work
« Last post by PART-5-ES-Maria on 17 September , 2018, 18:36:41 pm »
Hello!!
I was searching for information that might be useful about cybernetic prostheses and I found this article that explains stuff related BCI. I think it is very interesting so if you don't really understand what BCIs are or you find it curious you should read it. It includes a video in which Doctor Rajesh Rao explains this technology and how it works.
Here is the link: https://futurism.com/new-mind-controlled-prosthetics-poised-transform-humanity/. I hope you find it useful!!
Maria Vaquero, Spain
4
Generic topics / Re: MIXING the five lines
« Last post by PART-4-ES-Raquel on 14 September , 2018, 20:50:28 pm »
Good evening from Spain,

I'd like to pick up where I left off on the last post and shed a little light on what the NASA Ames Center for Nanotechnology (CNT) refers to as "tiny sensors for chemicals and sensors for cancer in space explorations”.


However, I would like to introduce beforehand all of you who don’t know all that much about Nanotechnology to its most simple definition: it is the application of the knowledge acquired by looking at nature from the perspective of the nanoscale (nanometer=the billionth part of a meter), and thus manipulating atoms and molecules with the intention of producing entirely new systems, materials, devices and structures from the properties that crop up in this scale. For that matter, I have come to realize that biology is at the core of Nanotech: atoms, molecules, are, after all, part of nature, as well as nature’s most sophisticated way of expression. Considering that life itself is the ultimate example of Nanotech, the possibilities are exciting, because we can take these “building blocks”, like functional molecular structures such as DNA molecules, proteins and so on, to produce systems that are more efficient: this new approach is regarded as bio-nanotech. Once this idea is settled, it wouldn’t appear so striking that some new designs are based on these molecular machines or structures as starting points.


Take, for instance, the new sensors and information storage devices from the Ames Research Center (NASA’s center in Silicon Valley) which are able to detect single molecules of nucleic acids and rapidly decode the genetic outline of a wide range of model organisms from yeast to humans, thus identifying the organism. These sensors hold the potential to easily replace the existing DNA sequencing technology. A more specific example of this would be the (a) Nanopore Project, which puts the revolutionary properties the materials acquire when reduced to the nanoscale and use them when a strand of DNA is drawn through a nanopore. The nucleotides in the DNA that go through the pore each react differently, creating a distinct “signature” disruption as they pass through and this serves as a way of identifying the genetic sequence. (1)


Similarly, another example of what is being done at the Ames Research Center would be (b) DNA microarrays that contain the genomes of many species produced by a super-computer at the Center. This tool’s purpose is to investigate genetic responses of the organisms, whose genome is registered, to environmental change, like different levels of gravity (as that of the ISS).


Nonetheless, when it comes to superior and novel nanotechnological advances with higher analytical performance, capacity to learn and lower reagent costs, it’s worth mentioning the case of programmable (c) bio-nano-chips.These devices would serve the purpose of providing an up to date analysis of the body’s state from in vitro samples such as brush biopsy for oral cancer (given the radiation and microgravity in outer space) risk assessment (2), plasma, etc; for instance. They work by translating the information of key biomarkers in the organism into recognizable or actionable signatures; helping patients (in this case, astronauts on the Space station or a space exploration) better manage their own healthcare. Some of these systems combine powerful machine-learning algorithms with unique chemical sensing and biosensing capabilities. (3)

Another example of such systems would involve Carbon Nanotubes, which work particularly well inside the organism because they are one of the essential bioelements and therefore biocompatible and also, because of the size, the electrode is reduced and the system has more sensitivity, higher temporal resolution and so on. (4)

While there are some risks involved with the loss of a patient-doctor relationship and potential for faulty diagnosis, these systems certainly provide a great opportunity for astronauts and other patients to take action on their own and act independently when they simply can’t reach a doctor.


What’s more, a chemical sensor the Ames developed using nanotubes is scheduled to fly a demonstration mission into space aboard a Navy rocket next year. This tiny sensor can detect as little as a few parts per billion of specific chemicals, like toxic gases, making it useful for both space exploration and homeland defense.


Finally, some of this kind of sensors are currently involved in missions like the (d) Rover Curiosity’s Mars Science Laboratory, providing tools for the CheMin (Chemical and Mineralogy field) to identify and quantify minerals and soils as well as ChemCam, a rock-zapping laser that observes the resulting flash through a telescope to detect more chemical elements.


On the whole, the advances related to Nanotech seem very promising for space exploration because by incorporating nanoscale elements in diagnostics devices electronic chips will detect a specific biomarker signature with extremely high sensitivity. It goes without saying that the use of this technologies goes far beyond space, however, I believe this is a very interesting application for them. Most of these, nevertheless, will probably be used on missions before they are affordable in the market, make of that what you will.


Thanks again for your time and dedication as well as interesting points of view

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you and your thoughts on this debate,

Kind regards,


Raquel Novel Ortega, Colegio SIL, Barcelona



Here are the links to the references I made before:

(1) https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/technology-onepagers/ames_nanotech.html (Nanotechnology at Ames)

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2278308/ (brush biopsy)

(3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5441161/ (Innovative Programmable Bio-Nano-Chip Digitizes Biology)

(4)https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/technology-onepagers/ultrasensitive_biochip.html    (Ultrasensitive Label-Free Electronic Biochips on Carbon Nanotube Arrays)
5
Space trash / Re: Space debris and climate change
« Last post by PART-3-ES-Pablo on 14 September , 2018, 17:56:01 pm »
Hi María! Hi everyone!

In addition to all of the information you and I already shared, I would also like to tell you about a piece of news I recently read which involves space debris, satellites, climate change and president Donald Trump.

Donald Trump again? What has he done this time? Well, as we all know, Mr. Trump wants to create a Space Army, which has already been discussed in a topic by Matthias. Turns out that previous to Trump's aim to create this army, he also said he would eliminate NASA's budget for climate change research, which is less than 2 million dollars from the 19 million dollar budget of the space agency. This decision has been supported by other Republicans such as Oklahoma state senator Jim Bridenstine or Texas representative Lamar Smith.

However, this money-saving step could prove to be really, really expensive according to an engineer of a NASA satellite which collects data for climate change.

As of February 2017, NASA had 16 earth science satellites in orbit as well as another 3 attached to the ISS. These satellites collect data from the atmosphere and Earth (such as oceans and phenomena like wildfires), which is the basis of NASA's climate change programme.

Consequently, it's risky to suddenly stop using them. If, as president Trump wants, NASA stops controlling these satellites, they would wander freely through low Earth orbit and would therefore fit in the definition of space debris. But the greatest problem with this is that the satellites would be big and massive enough to cause tremendous damage to other satellites and trigger the Kessler syndrome. As the engineer said, if one of these satellites crashes into debris, the impact will produce about 40 000 or 50 000 more pieces of debris.

Some of you who are reading this news article have possibly thought about the idea of deorbiting those satellites so that president Trump achieves his desire and the creation of new debris is avoided. However, such a process would last "years and years" and would likely not be considered as a solution by Trump's administration, so chances are the satellites would stay there regardless of the danger they would cause.

Furthermore, transferring satellite operations to another agency isn't a solution to the problem. NASA's earth science satellites are operated mainly by contractors who use specialized equipment at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. This hypothetical transfer would mean moving all those machines to the new agency's headquarters, which, as you can imagine, would be very expensive. Moreover, all the scientists and engineers which work in these centres live near them, geographically speaking.

Most of the people who are in favour of eliminating NASA's climate change research argue that a huge amount of money is being spent on research that isn't needed. They often support their argument by saying that other US agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also study climate change and earth science, so further research on this area is redundant. Notwithstanding, redundancy is not at all wasteful. The more data scientists have, the more confident they will be on their conclusions and the more likelihood these conclusions will have of being correct. After all, we have all checked in other sources the information we've read while doing our projects, haven't we?

In my opinion, president Donald Trump should think about the long-term consequences of his actions, and not only the short-term ones. I'm not saying that he shouldn't go on with this measurement, just that he shouldn't promise things so quickly and easily.

What do you think about this? I know it might be too late for you to include this information in your research projects, but I would love to read your opinions.

Best wishes,

Pablo Baceiredo (Spain)

Here you are the piece of news in case you want to have a look at it :D
https://qz.com/919982/a-nasa-engineer-explains-why-trumps-plan-to-cut-the-space-agencys-climate-science-program-is-a-lot-harder-than-it-sounds/
6
Space trash / Re: Space Debris Solutions
« Last post by PART-3-MEX-Kevin on 14 September , 2018, 02:33:51 am »
I also read and want to share with you that some private companies are working too into this problem, for example The Defence and Space division of Airbus are developing a "high-tech harpoon" its purpose is capture the space trash.
This idea its not new because other harpoons was designed a few years ago, but they have problems.
An engeneer of Airbus said that one of the big problems was lack of technology able to resist collisions of bigger debris, but now they have achieved developed that technology
The first tests was in march of this year in England but they have planned to do a more realistic test capturing a real satellite at the end of 2018 or early 2019.
This proyect is part of the technologies ESA is considering for capture Envisat, this is one of the  largest  pieces of space junk, this satellite died in 2012.
Here are some links about this proyect:
And finally i want to introduce myself, my name is Kevin and i am from Mexico (a bit far  ;D )
Greetings for all of you   :)
Kevin Vicenteño (Mexico)
7
Space trash / Re: Space Debris Solutions
« Last post by PART-3-MEX-Kevin on 14 September , 2018, 02:33:01 am »
I also read and want to share with you that some private companies are working too into this problem, for example The Defence and Space division of Airbus are developing a "high-tech harpoon" its purpose is capture the space trash.
This idea its not new because other harpoons was designed a few years ago, but they have problems.
An engeneer of Airbus said that one of the big problems was lack of technology able to resist collisions of bigger debris, but now they have achieved developed that technology
The first tests was in march of this year in England but they have planned to do a more realistic test capturing a real satellite at the end of 2018 or early 2019.
This proyect is part of the technologies ESA is considering for capture Envisat, this is one of the  largest  pieces of space junk, this satellite died in 2012.
Here are some links about this proyect:
And finally i want to introduce myself, my name is Kevin and i am from Mexico (a bit far  ;D )
Greetings for all of you   :)
8
Cybernetic prostheses / Re: Neil Harbisson
« Last post by PART-5-ES-Irene on 12 September , 2018, 23:28:07 pm »
Hi everyone!
I have also discovered another cyborg. In this case, I am talking about Rob Spence.
He is a Canadian man and when he was 9 years old he had an accident with a shotgun that provoked the eye deterioration along time until 2005, when he lost it completely. He obtained inspiration from superheroes to design and create a camera for his eye socket which transmits images of things filmed by a wireless device. Finally, nowadays he is known as "The Eyeborg".
I really enjoy learning about cyborgs so it would be great if you also share new information about it!
Best wishes,
Irene Merino, Spain.
9
Cybernetic prostheses / Re: Neil Harbisson
« Last post by PART-5-ES-Irene on 12 September , 2018, 23:05:09 pm »
Hello everyone!
Talking about cyborgs, I would like to mention Chris Dancy. This man is known as the world's most connected person because he has got 11 sensors in his body which allow him to control his vital signs during the hole day.
This began in 2007; as he was programmer, he wondered if he could help his own health.
If you want to learn more about him, he has got his own webpage. In addition, I leave here this talk:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FSrxBMblAk&feature=youtu.be

I hope you like it.
Kind regards,
Irene Merino, Spain.
10
Cybernetic prostheses / Re: Let us know how are you doing with your works.
« Last post by PART-5-ES-Irene on 10 September , 2018, 23:53:48 pm »
Hello everyone!
Yes, of course! As Alejandro and María have said, you do not have to be afraid of sharing information with us. It may be a little bit hard at the beginning but you will see that taking part in this forum is a rewarding experience in which you learn a lot about new interesting topics. In my opinion, the best part of it is that you learn from your mates and we all do our best together! Remember that science progresses due to team work.
Best wishes,
Irene Merino.
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