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Posts tagged ‘Technology Review’

Powerful Solar

From Technology Review
by Kevin Bullis
14 September 2012

A startup’s novel way to dice up semiconductor wafers is leading to some of the world’s most powerful solar panels—they convert over a third of the energy in sunlight, compared to about 15 percent for conventional solar panels. Now that company, Semprius, has announced that it will open a factory in Henderson, North Carolina, later this month to manufacture them. Although the opening will mark a significant milestone for the company on the way to commercialization, the technology is still at a relatively early stage of development: the factory will produce only a few megawatts of solar panels, compared to the hundreds of megawatts that silicon solar panel factories make.

For more about the technology, which Technology Review chose as one of the top 10 emerging technologies this year, see “TR10: Ultra-Efficient Solar.”

Read entire article at Technology Review.

Light Replaces Chemo

From Technology Review. Published by MIT

Biomedicine
Light-Based Therapy Destroys Cancer Cells

The new approach, which features a heat-sensitive fluorescent dye, could eventually replace standard chemotherapy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Erica Westly

For more than two decades, researchers have tried to develop a light-activated cancer therapy that could replace standard chemotherapy, which is effective but causes serious negative side effects. Despite those efforts, they’ve struggled to come up with a light-activated approach that would target only cancer cells.

Now scientists at the National Cancer Institute have developed a possible solution that involves pairing cancer-specific antibodies with a heat-sensitive fluorescent dye. The dye is nontoxic on its own, but when it comes into contact with near-infrared light, it heats up and essentially burns a small hole in the cell membrane it has attached to, killing the cell.

To target the tumor cells, the researchers used antibodies that bind to proteins that are overexpressed in cancer cells. “Normal cells may have a hundred copies of these antibodies, but cancer cells have millions of copies. That’s a big difference,” says Hisataka Kobayashi, a molecular imaging researcher at the National Cancer Institute and the lead author of the new study, published this week in Nature Medicine. The result is that only cancer cells are vulnerable to the light-activated cascade.

The researchers tested the new treatment in mice and found that it reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival.
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There are a few kinks to work out before the system can be adapted for humans, though. For instance, the researchers couldn’t test the treatment’s effect on large tumors, since killing off too many cells at once caused cardiovascular problems in the mice. Finding the right cancer-cell markers to pair with the dye may also prove difficult. For example, HER-2, one of the proteins targeted in the study, is only expressed in 40 percent of breast-cancer cells in humans.

Read complete article at Technology Reivew

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