The machine that UNBOILS eggs may help treat cancer
- Professor Colin Raston received recognition for a method to unboil an egg
- His machine can unravel proteins in egg white back to their natural state
- But it could be used to unravel and trim carbon nanotubes to a set length
- This uniformity means the tiny tubes could be used in a range of applications, including drug delivery, medical devices and solar panels
An Australian scientist who designed a machine that can ‘unboil’ an egg, has claimed the approach used in his technology could also help in the fight against cancer.
Professor Colin Raston, who created the method for unravelling tangled proteins in cooked egg whites, has said his method could help to develop medical technologies for a wide range of uses.
The scientist was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2015 for his work into the vortex fluidic device (VFD).
Professor Colin Raston (pictured) from Flinders University was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2015 for creating a way to unboil an egg. He now claims the approach can also be used to precisely cut carbon nanotubes, paving the way for their use in biomedical and electronic devices, including those that could treat cancer.
Professor Raston’s now famous ‘unboiling egg’ process is based on the concept of reversing the structural changes to proteins which occur during the heating process.
Egg whites were boiled for 20 minutes at 90°C (194°F), before a urea substance was added to ‘chew away’ at the whites, liquefying the solid material and breaking down proteins.
Professor Raston’s now famous ‘unboiling egg’ process is based on the concept of reversing the structural changes to proteins which occur during the heating process. The vortex fluidic device (VFD) works by unfolding the proteins, such as in boiled egg whites, back to their natural state
A similar process can be used to chop tiny tubes of carbon, which could ultimately pave the way for more targeted drug therapies. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) (illustrated) have been hailed as a source of untapped potential in medical therapies but they have proved difficult to reliably produce in bulk
By adding the nanotubes to the machine, along with water and a liquid solvent, the method can reportedly trim the tubes with a laser, reliably producing lengths of around 170 nanometers.
‘It’s one of highest tensile strength materials, and yet you put it in a liquid, and you spin it in a special way and with a laser you can cut it down,’ he told the BBC.
Commenting on last year’s Ig Nobel prize, Professor Raston said he had his ‘Eureka’ moment when he fed a boiled hen egg into the machine and it came back uncooked.
The machine has been hailed as a potential game-changer for the targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment.
Producing CNTs to set lengths means they could be used as vehicles to accurately deliver drugs to specific sites in the body, such as to cancerous cells (illustrated)
Professor Raston said: ‘It’s living the dream.
‘All scientists want to do something that is significant, but this has the wow factor.
‘It’s not what we set out to do, to unboil an egg, but it’s the way of explaining the science involved and helping the wider world realise the momentousness of it.’
‘The sheer scale of this is mind boggling. The global pharmaceutical industry alone is worth $160 billion annually and the processing of proteins is central to it.
‘The VFD is completely changing it – and is set to do the same for the fuel and food industries. It’s impossible to place a price on the value of this device.
‘Winning an Ig is both humbling and amazing.’
Scientists from Flinders University and the University of California-Irvine worked together on the machine which could drastically cut costs for the pharmaceutical industry.
CUTTING CARBON NANOTUBES
Professor Colin Raston from Flinders University in Adelaide, created a device which unravels tangled proteins, has said that the same method could be be used in medicine to effectively deliver treatments.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been hailed as a source of untapped potential in medical therapies, but they are produced in a knot of different lengths.
But by adding the CNTs to the Raston’s machine, along with water and a liquid solvent, the method can reportedly trim them with a laser, reliably producing lengths of around 170 nanometers.
This reliable method to produce set lengths mean they could be used in drug delivery for cancer, or find uses in electronics as biomedical sensors and even in solar panels.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3505931/The-machine-unboils-eggs-help-treat-CANCER-Method-used-unravel-egg-proteins-used-disease.html#ixzz43kCqqzv3
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