Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Enzyme in white blood cells can break down carbon nanotubes


The picture by Kagan et al. is  a molecular modelling that demonstrates possible nanotube interaction sites on hMPO.

An EU-funded study of carbon nanotubes by scientists in Ireland, Sweden and the US has shown that these extraordinarily strong molecules can be broken down into carbon and water by an enzyme found in white blood cells. The discovery, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, offers hope that this new material may be exploited safely in medicine and industry.

The findings are an outcome of the NANOMMUNE (‘Comprehensive assessment of hazardous effects of engineered nanomaterials on the immune system’) project, financed with EUR 3.36 million under the NMP (‘Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production’) Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical, engineered carbon molecules that are lighter and stronger than steel and have unique electrical properties. They are used in several areas of industry, for example in the manufacture of silicon chips, electronics and sporting goods. Carbon nanotubes are produced in large quantities, which has implications for occupational health, and are also being used in the development of new drugs and other medical applications. Their behaviour in living organisms is, therefore, an intensive area of study. NANOMMUNE researchers are seeking to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the potentially hazardous effects of engineered nanomaterials on the human immune system.

“Previous studies have shown that carbon nanotubes could be used for introducing drugs or other substances into human cells,” explained Dr Bengt Fadeel of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. “The problem has been not knowing how to control the breakdown of the nanotubes, which can cause unwanted toxicity and tissue damage. Our study now shows how they can be broken down biologically into harmless components.” You can read the full article here.

NANOMMUNE is coordinated by Dr Fadeel and comprises 13 research groups in Europe and the US.

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May 3, 2010 - Posted by | Nano News

1 Comment »

  1. By being able to break down in harmless components, this will afford many new opportunities for researchers to explore.

    As a new and very focused US Carbon nano Tube research and manufacturer/sales and distribution, our patent pending process in manufacturing will by Spring 2011 offer tubes at considerably less cost and we will force down the costs of tubes by all manufacturers.

    The demand on us is great as numerous organization ar awaiting our production to get ramped up and commence manufacture no later than Spring. In fact, this week and next, I have been tasked to raise an immediate add’l $10million to add to the coffers as our planned manufacturing facilities will be increased.

    By all the research and factors being identified when working the Carbon Nano Tubes, there is so much profit, so many ways we cal all make a difference and how this technology will transform so many and affect the improved quality in Life for human beings all aroundf the worldand into space and further into universes far beyond.

    Comment by Christopher Tingus | September 14, 2010 | Reply

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