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Biomedical applications of nanowires


There are three main uses for nanowires. Those uses include gene transfection, disease prevention and cell manipulation. Gene transfection and drug delivery have relatively the same process for nanoparticles and nanowires and that is they respond to strength and direction of magnetic fields. Nanowires, as well as nanoparticles, can be used as drug delivery vehicles since they are naturally endocytosed by cells. Nanowires can also be used in gener transfection as a carrier in lieu of more traditional viral vectors or particle guns. The trainee Alan Liu attaches nanowires to the outside of a cell and then applies a magnetic field. The magnetic field applies a force to the nanowires which essentially pulls on the cell. The group examines the changes induced in the cell due to the applied force.

Address Goals

There are advantages, limitation and future use of nanowire applications. The advantage is localized control, it is not cytotoxic and has a higher rate of success versus traditional methods. The limitations is no deep tissue control, no 3-D control and high strength high gradient fileds are involved. Future development is local 3-D control, cytotoxicity of carbon nanotubes, and previously unheard of treatments (e.g. siRNA treatment).