New Nanomotor is Smallest, Fastest Ever, Can Be Used to Deliver Medicine

New Nanomotor is Smallest, Fastest Ever, Can Be Used to Deliver Medicine

...or it could be used to power the next super solider, but that's just wishful thinking.

A new nanomotor developed by engineers at the University of Texas-Austin is the smallest and fastest ever built, according to the school's engineering website.

The new nanomotor was developed by a team of researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering, led by Mechanical engineering assistant professor Donglei "Emma" Fan. The design can fit inside a human cell, and is, according to the university, the longest-running nanomotor by far.

With all its dimensions under 1 micrometer in size, the nanomotor could fit inside a human cell and is capable of rotating for 15 continuous hours at a speed of 18,000 RPMs, the speed of a motor in a jet airplane engine. Comparable nanomotors run significantly more slowly, from 14 RPMs to 500 RPMs, and have only rotated for a few seconds up to a few minutes.

Emphasis added. The new nanomotor could be used in a number of applications, but it seems to be medically targeted for now. The motor is capable of moving through liquid, meaning it could float in the bloodstream to deliver countless varieties of medicine (insulin, antibiotics, etc.).

Initially, medicine/biochemical delivery would be achieved by coating a nano machine in the needed drug. The faster the nanomotor spins, the more medicine is delivered.

The motor has yet to be tested in a biological host, but testing "near live cells" will happen soon.

Source: Slashdot

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I guess that's cool, but I don't understand how a motor in the blood would help deliver medicine. Why not just inject medicine, or whatever is already done? I admit that I don't know much about this. Anyone care to educate me?

EDIT: Thank you, smart people.

Everyone speaks of getting Nanomachines into the body, but how does one get them out of the body?

Kill switches and such are nice an all but do you just have billions of inert nanomachines flowing through your veins after their purpose is served? forever?

I'm just curious about these things lol

username sucks:
I guess that's cool, but I don't understand how a motor in the blood would help deliver medicine. Why not just inject medicine, or whatever is already done? I admit that I don't know much about this. Anyone care to educate me?

For medicine that is taken multiple times a day, like insulin, nanomotors might be preferable to constant use of needles (also could reduce risk of infection.

DTWolfwood:
Everyone speaks of getting Nanomachines into the body, but how does one get them out of the body?

Kill switches and such are nice an all but do you just have billions of inert nanomachines flowing through your veins after their purpose is served? forever?

I'm just curious about these things lol

Good question -- and honestly I don't know! That will be something determined in biological testing down the road, I'm sure.

-Devin Connors

username sucks:
I guess that's cool, but I don't understand how a motor in the blood would help deliver medicine. Why not just inject medicine, or whatever is already done? I admit that I don't know much about this. Anyone care to educate me?

Some medicines need to be introduced to the body gradually, putting them in all at once would basically poison the patient. Too much of a good thing can be just as bad as not enough. There are slow-release mechanisms, capsules and pills and such, but not all of them work for all medications. This machine would be able to constantly introduce medication into the body's system at a safe rate, allowing the body to metabolize it without being overloaded, instead of doing numerous small injections or putting in an IV drip.

(Note I'm not a med major, this is just my understanding.)

DTWolfwood:
Everyone speaks of getting Nanomachines into the body, but how does one get them out of the body?

Kill switches and such are nice an all but do you just have billions of inert nanomachines flowing through your veins after their purpose is served? forever?

I'm just curious about these things lol

Again, not a med expert, but my guess is once the nanomachine has done its work they'll find a way for the body to tag it as 'waste' and dispose of it, like it does dead blood cells and the like.

EDIT: Never mind, ninja'd by the guy who actually knows what he's talking about. :P

DTWolfwood:
Everyone speaks of getting Nanomachines into the body, but how does one get them out of the body?

Kill switches and such are nice an all but do you just have billions of inert nanomachines flowing through your veins after their purpose is served? forever?

I'm just curious about these things lol

Once again not a med expert (and it really has to be said considering the level of expertise involved) but most substances can be ejected from the body through normal means, and a lot of things that go into our bodies routinely come out again. Unless they make nanomotors out of heavy metals or something nasty like that it wouldn't be a problem.

username sucks:
I guess that's cool, but I don't understand how a motor in the blood would help deliver medicine. Why not just inject medicine, or whatever is already done? I admit that I don't know much about this. Anyone care to educate me?

EDIT: Thank you, smart people.

Most medicines are broken down rapidly broken down in your system and we need to administer high doses in order to make exert any effect before it's broken down. High doses increase the ill effects (liver, kidney strain and side effects due to the medicine affecting places where you don't want it to work). Another advantage of alternative paths to drug administration is that we can make it affect only the area with the ailment. Chemotheraphy could benefit by a drug delivery system targeting cancer cells. We could even apply more potent medicines that would otherwise be deadly, our immune system already applies one of these deadly toxins in defence against cancer, but we can't make use of it due to lack of targeting (attempts have been made and patients died of shock a long time before they saw any response on the tumour cells).

Alternative drug delivery is subject to a number of different research teams at the moment, but we have yet to see if we'll manage it. Personally I think nano beads sounds promising since it can give a lasting effect since it can be applied once and have an effect lasting almost 2 weeks.

 

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