Scientists create leak-free nano-pipes for drug delivery

“In our case, we build a true pipe that can ferry material across a membrane and then another one micron or longer that can ferry material across a membrane barrier and then through a conduit to a final location a micron away,” said Professor Schulman. However, a different type of leak occurs in a microscopic pipe, similar to what you also see in plumbing — holes in the walls of the tube that could let material leak out.

The researchers claim that their nanotubes are not leaky through the walls, and although they have nano-scale diameters, they don’t get clogged. During the study, co-lead researchers Yi Li ran an interesting test to test the leak-free nature of the pipes. He filled a fluorescent liquid inside the tube, capped its ends, and then observed the change in the tube’s shape as the liquid moved inside.

No leaks occurred during the test. Moreover, since the tubes are made of DNA, the researchers reveal that they also have the ability to self-repair and self-assemble.

Limitations and the future of nanotubes

Scientists create nano-pipes that are two million times smaller than an ant

An old plumbing network.

Professor Schulman suggests that a number of groups are currently pursuing nanotubes for use in drug delivery. They could be employed to direct the flow of molecules or ions between cells in engineered tissues. Such a type of application could be important for growing tissues in the lab like cardiac patches.

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