From interaction with bacteria, propulsion based on cells, in vivo medical applications to even intracellular applications, the rapidly expanding development of micro- and nanomachines with sizes comparable to or even smaller than mammalian cells, has led this field to advance from understanding of basic motion mechanisms to applications in living biosystems. A recent review highlights the recent efforts for and toward application of micro/nanomachines in living biosystems, including microorganisms, biological cells, and human body. Applications of micro- and nanomachines in living biosystems are reviewed from two aspects: their interaction with other microscopic organisms or biological units, and the efforts toward their application in the human body.
Researchers propose novel flexible Mn-doped zirconium metal-organic frameworks nanocubes for highly effective combination of microwave dynamic and thermal therapy against cancer. This is the first report of determining the microwave thermal conversion efficiency, which can be used to evaluate, compare, and predict the microwave sensitivity of different microwave-sensitive agents. More importantly, such Mn-ZrMOF nanocubes generate abundant reactive oxygen species of hydroxyl radicals under microwave irradiation.
The role of artificial nanomotors integrated with therapeutic capabilities is a very promising field for clinical applications of medical nanotechnology. Researchers now have demonstrated the intelligent design of nanomotors with a single coating of ferrite, which act as a spacer layer as well as providing therapeutic potential by magnetic hyperthermia. These motors can be remotely maneuvered. The team also tackled the problem of magnetic agglomeration associated with ferromagnetic nanomotors, which limits their biomedical application.
Crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the object of intensive research in nanotechnology and biomedicine for developing new therapies against brain cancer and for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. For this reason, it is extremely important to develop realistic models of the BBB, which mimic as most accurately as possible the in vivo environment. The development of high-resolution 3D-printing technologies has now enabled researchers to develop a realistic 3D bio-hybrid microfluidic model of BBB inspired by the in vivo neurovasculature.
Single-atom catalysts (SACs) have emerged as a new frontier in heterogeneous catalysis, and demonstrated distinguishing performances for various reactions due to their high catalytic activity with a significantly reduced amount of metals used. However, the catalytic performance of SACs for nitrogen fixation and conversion has been rarely explored. Scientists now have proposed a quite promising single-atom-based electrocatalyst for N2 reduction to NH3 under ambient conditions.
Researchers have demonstrated a novel approach toward smart orthodontics based on near-infrared red light from a mechanically flexible LED powered by flexible bio-safe batteries all integrated in a single 3D-printed dental brace. Integration of electronic devices in 3D printed dental aligners is a pragmatic approach towards implementing a flexible electronic technology in personalized advanced healthcare, particularly in orthodontics. Key to this smart brace is the use of a high-performance flexible solid-state microbattery.
The remarkable properties of some natural materials have motivated many researchers to synthesize biomimetic nanocomposites and other nanostructured materials that attempt to reproduce Nature's achievements. Recent research has indicated that the amplification of natural materials' mechanical properties far beyond those of the components that comprise them originates mainly from: 1) a hierarchical micro-/nanoscale architecture and 2) abundant effective interface interactions. A new progress report provides insight into the development of bio-inspired structural materials.
The crucial roles of the physicochemical properties of cell culture substrates on function and behavior of a wide range of the cells are becoming well-studied in the current literature, using experimental approaches. However, development of in silico approaches for prediction of cell responses to the physicochemical properties of substrates is still in its infancy. In new work, an international team of researchers has developed a unifying computational framework to create a multi-component virtual cell model to probe cell function/behavior in silico.