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June 11, 2009

A nano-sized needle delivers molecules to particular spots inside a cell.


Nano-needles. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Incredibly tiny "nano-needles" are opening new frontiers in bio-medical research, making it possible to inject a single molecules into a living cell. The latest model comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Although the needle is 500 times thinner than a human hair, mechanical engineer Min-Feng Yu says it can be manipulated very precisely. It’s attached to the sharpened end of a somewhat larger probe, and viewed under a powerful microscope.

MIN-FENG YU (University of Illinois):
So that you can visualize the motion of the nano-needle, and position this nano-needle onto the specific cell you are interested in.

Yu says the needle could improve our knowledge of the human body, allowing scientists to track and tweak processes inside individual cells. It could also open up new strategies for super-targeted drug delivery. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.