Leading researchers in nanotechnology are in Houston learning about the different projects that are underway in the state and across the country. It’s believed that nano technology will improve everything from energy to the health fields.
Two projects highlighted at the summitt focus on health but from different angles. Doctor James Heath studied under Nobel laureate and Rice University Professor Richard Smalley. Heath now is involved in nano technology research at Caltech and UCLA. Heath is exploring the possibility of using nano technology for better cancer diagnosis. Currently, many diagnostic tests measure one or two markers in the blood for a specific disease. Heath says to capture all major cancers in a blood test, as many as two-thousand measurements have to be done.
A concise way of reading so many measurements is needed. While this use of nano technology is focusing on diagnosis, another project, this one at the University of Houston, is trying to use nano technology to find a cure for HIV infections.
The medications don’t get rid of the DNA that’s been integrated into the body. UH Associate Professor Kurt Krause is looking at creating a nano-machine that identifies infected cells and clip it.
That then would cause the body to react to get rid of the bad material… at least that’s the thought. More study is needed to create the nano-machines and then test to see if the hyposthesis holds up. Krause says other researchers are working on mechanisms for actually delivering these nano-machines in patients. That’s why collaboration among different research institutions is so important. Nanotech Foundation of Texas President Conrad Masterson says Texas has a solid foundation for nanotechnology with nearly 400 nanotechnology researchers.
Researchers say having the companies is important because that’s how the newest technology moves from the lab into the general population to impact people’s lives.