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Light-activated lock could revolutionize drug delivery

Darren Murph
04.03.09
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The Gators may not be in the Final Four this year, but the brainiacs on campus are still toiling away, regardless. Researchers at the institution (that'd be the University of Florida) have just stumbled onto a remarkable discovery that could eventually "starve cancer tumors and prevent side effects from a wide range of drugs." The magic find? A "lock-like molecule" that clasps or unclasps based on exposure to light. Sure, we've seen our fair share of newfangled drug delivery tools, but none that have been this noninvasive or simple to activate. In tests, gurus found that they could use visible or ultraviolet light to open or close a clasp, letting blood flow or creating a clot; in theory, this could one day be used to "prevent the formation of tiny blood vessels that feed tumors." Everything about this sounds just fantastic on the surface, but seriously, can you imagine how dead we'd be if the robots ever got ahold of this?

[Via Physorg, image courtesy of NanotechNow]

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