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Friday, February 23, 2007

Webcast: Nanotech To Improve Developing Nations

What if doctors in Kenya could equip cells of the retina with photo switches that can be flipped on,essentially making blind nerve cells see and restoring light sensitivity in people with degenerative blindness? What if public health workers in Bangladesh could place contaminated water into transparent bottles, which when placed in direct sunlight could disinfect the water and help prevent water-borne diseases like cholera, dysentery or polio?

What if a medical technician in Vietnam could use a tiny "reporter"molecule that attaches itself to specific bacteria or viruses in a patient sample and read with an inexpensive laser device -- no bigger than a briefcase -- whether an infectious disease is present? What if a nurse in Brazil could dispense a gel that would stick to the AIDS virus surface like molecular Velcro and prevent it from attacking healthy cells in sexually active women?

These scenarios are not science fiction. They are just a few examples of the exciting potential of nanomedicine -- an offshoot of nanotechnology which researchers in both industrialized and developing countries hail as enabling the next big breakthroughs in medicine and which promises to change virtually every facet of health care, disease control and prevention.

Nanotechnology is the engineering of machines and materials at the atomic scale.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington will hold a webcast on Tuesday, February 27 at 12 p.m. EST, with experts who will examine the role of nanotechnology to improve health in developing nations.

Bookmark and drop back in sometime.

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