Texas A&M University reports (with a video) on developing a carrier system that can deliver medicines and biosensors to targeted areas of the body. It is made off a hydrogel (a biocompatible material that doesn’t trigger the immune response) embedded with porous microparticles made from clusters of calcium carbonate nanoparticles that are formed around a specific material to trap it inside. Once a drug or biosensor is trapped within such microsphere, multiple layers of polymers are wrapped around the particles, thus allowing for a precise and customizable control over how the microcapsule will release its contents when it interacts with its surrounding environment.
ScienceDaily reports on developing holographic sensors to test glucose level. They are made of a hydrogel (similar to one used in contact lenses), impregnated with tiny silver nanoparticles that after a laser pulse are formed into three-dimensional holograms of predetermined shapes in a fraction of a second. In the presence of certain compounds, such as glucose, alcohol, hormones, drugs, or bacteria, the hydrogels either shrink or swell, causing the color of the hologram to change. Such sensors are cheap, can be fast produced in large volumes, and can be used at home — no more painful blood tests for diabetics.
Nanowerk reports on vertically aligned ZnO nanowire arrays on 3D graphene foam to selectively detect uric acid (UA), dopamine (DA), and ascorbic acid (AA). The application is detection of uric acid from the serum of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients as abnormal levels of UA are symptomatic of several diseases, including gout, hyperuricemia, and Parkinson’s disease; and low levels of DA are related to neurological disorders such as PD and schizophrenia.
“UA, DA, and AA coexist in the extracellular fluid of the central nervous system and serum. However, it is difficult to simultaneously detect each species in a mixture with high selectivity and sensitivity when using conventional solid electrodes because their oxidation potentials overlap, the surface area is insufficient, and/or the kinetic accessibility of each species is limited.”