With the new NanoCut technology developed by researchers at the Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) in Jena, Germany it is possible to drill holes only a millionth of a millimetre in diameter and thus may revolutionize gene therapy.
The NanoCut technology was developed by Wolfgang Fritzsche of the IPHT and Karten Koenig from the Saar-Universität, Germany. Their innovation already received the award ‘Research Highlight of the Year 2007’ by the British journal Nature Nanotechnology and has been praised by the industry journal ‘Nano Letters’.
Because the NanoCut procedure has succeeded in bundling the energy of a laser to the point of the size of individual human chromosomes, this new technology is most important to medicine and makes it possible to target specific areas of genetic material that carry a genetic defect and switch them off.
Fritzsche notes ‘We can mark the nanoparticles in such a way that they can be bound to a certain place on a chromosome. This would allow areas of genes that are carrying a genetic defect to be selected and then removed. Fritzsche’s method also has other advantages. He says ‘We can also work simultaneously and choose different places on the genes where we can attach the nanoparticles. Most importantly, the rest of the chromosome remains completely unchanged by the procedures.’
© Flavia Westerwelle