Iowa State creates nanomachines for diagnosing illnesses

The nanomachine could drastically improve the accessibility of diagnostic medical equipment in developing nations.
The nanomachine could drastically improve the accessibility of diagnostic medical equipment in developing nations. | File photo
Scientists at Iowa State University recently created a series of nanomachines that are designed to diagnose illnesses in patients by measuring the level of viruses, DNA and small molecules.

Eric Henderson, a professor of genetics, development and cell biology at Iowa State, has partnered with Divita Mathur, a former graduate student, to create these machines. Their research has been published in Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed journal.

According to the article, the nanomachine is able to detect the Ebola virus. This innovation could change how medicine is practiced; the machines are so small that approximately 40 billion individual machines are comprised in just one drop of water.

The nanomachine could drastically improve the accessibility of diagnostic medical equipment in developing nations, where there is little availability for this kind of technology. The technology can be slightly changed to detect other pathogens or molecules, helping countless people around the world, particularly where medical facilities are rare.

The nanotechnology is easy to use and cost-efficient to make. Using a smartphone app, almost anyone can accurately detect a variety of pathogens and diseases, including Ebola. The technology eliminates traditional medical facilities in the diagnostic process.

“It’s possible to exploit that rule set in a way that creates advantages for medicine and biotechnology,” Henderson said.

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Iowa State University 2229 Lincoln Way Ames, IA - 50014

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