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Will bioelectronics cure cancer in the future?
Interestingly, when you hear that cyborgs are becoming a reality, whether you remember about Redeye Arnold of steel? Be that as it may, a future in which man and machine become one, due not only to the nuts and bolts. Without biology nowhere.
Tim Mali, who calls himself an expert on the cyborg, told Gizmodo resource on how to be the first cyborg. Most likely, it will not be a mechanical body, and grown using biotechnology, and perhaps we will see a Robocop – rather, it will be collected in parts of small improvements.
And these improvements have already begun.
Sphere, known as bioelectronics is exactly what it seems: when biology meets electronics. Before you get ahead of ourselves, it is important to define what bioelectronics. After her move to interesting possibilities.
A Brief History
Bioelectronics is a relatively new word, when it comes to scientific disciplines, although its origins lie centuries before. The first electrocardiogram was made in 1895 and laid the beginning of bioelectronics. Then it became obvious that the electronic system will have a serious impact on all areas of medicine. Today worldwide implanted defibrillators over half a year, millions of people are turning to cyborgs, regardless of whether they realize it or not.
Scope bioelectronics has only recently become known. In fact, about 95% of the articles written on this topic have been published since 1990. Only in the past couple of years started to happen really breakthroughs of world importance. After the 20th century brought us almost everything from pacemakers to robotic prostheses, ambitious scientists began to wonder where it would make the relationship between biology and electronics. Rather than build electronic devices that can be implanted in biological systems, for example, why not build a device that will be part of them?
Until now, all happening at the cellular level. Scientists build biocomputers that use of biologically derived material to perform computing functions. These small DNA incredible invention for use in protein production system in accordance with a very specific direction. More specifically, they are used for protein and DNA information processing instead of silicon chips.
To be considered as computers, they need to be able to do three things: store information and transmit it to serve in accordance with the system logic. Scientists long ago figured out how to store and transmit information. (Ultimately, DNA itself stores and transmits information). Just last year it became known how to make biocomputers perform calculations.
The team led by Stanford bioengineer Drew Endy establish the transfer of genetic information, which uses something called “transkriptory” working as electronic transistors. While transistors operate on a pass or not to pass the electrons through a gateway transkriptory allow protein called RNA polymerase to pass or not pass in the DNA strand. This inevitably has allowed scientists to create a fully functional bio-computer.
When biology meets electronics
Construction of a biological system, that will work as e, can not be called bioelectronics. Biocomputer – a building block for something greater understanding of how biological and electronic systems can exist in symbiosis. It is this group of scientists engaged in Harvard University in 2012, when created a “cybernetic” fabric, which combined three-dimensional network functioning, and biocompatible nanoscale wires with human tissue. This discovery can be called synergies outlined above.
“Modern methods that allow us to observe or interact with the living system is extremely limited,” – says Professor Charles Lieber, a leading research. – “We can use electrodes to measure the activity of a cell or tissue, but it will hurt them. Thanks to new technology the first time we can work on the same scale as the biological system without interfering with it. Ultimately, it is a fabric with electronically merging so that it becomes difficult to determine where the fabric ends and begins Electronics “.
Just think about it. The human body is controlled by a series of electrical signals, so Lieber and his team have developed a new material in the form of the autonomic nervous system using nanoscale wires that act as nerves. Currently, the material is likely to be used in the pharmaceutical industry to see how human tissues respond to drugs, but there are no restrictions for creating electronic parts of the body.
Bioelectronic cure for cancer
Let’s just draw the line. Material that is part of the electronics (read: with wires) and part biology (read: made from living cells) certainly bioelectronic. But the ultimate goal is further bioelectronics. For example, devices, mostly hypothetical, which will use the principles and architecture of biological biovychisleny electronics to do incredible things.
To get there, take time. While we only have succeeded in manipulating the electrical properties of living cells. Biologist Michael Levin of Tufts University, for example, believes that it is possible to customize existing electronic signals in cells to form a new growth model. It is almost indistinguishable from the flow configuration of proteins in bio-computer to perform certain functions, moreover, that can change the world.
Just imagine what effect might these studies for the treatment of cancer. In February last year, the team Levine published an article that describes how specific electrical signals associated with tumor growth. In fact, if you can identify this unique bioelectronic signal at an early stage, it was possible to detect a tumor before it starts to grow.
Moreover, if you can manipulate these bioelectronic signals, you generally can stop the growth of cancer. Ideally, such manipulation could not only heal people from all diseases, but also to grow new limbs, for example.
Let us make you a living computer
That’s where the big use of bioelectronics in medicine. Different types of devices are already sold as wearable sensors that can tell you something about your body. Not long ago, Google introduced contact lenses that are able to determine the level of glucose in your blood. This is a perfect example. Some of these devices work in tandem with a smartphone or computer, but scientists eventually hope that those will work autonomously, without wires and even without batteries.
I like this future. Just over a month ago the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced a million dollar prize for innovation in the field of bioelectronics. They are looking for brilliant scientists who can build a “miniature, fully implantable device that can read, write and block the electrical signals the body to cure the disease.” It sounds incredible. Day when we get rid of asthma and diabetes, potentially save millions of lives around the corner. And thanks to the latest research, we know that this is possible.
Honestly, I am overwhelmed with joy at the thought that I might have become of the generation that will live long and painless. Very long.
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Tags: Bioengineering , Biology , Electronics .
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