Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Blob! Scientists Create Living, Moving Gel from Human Proteins

Scientists at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, have created in the laboratory a mass of living, moving proteins, not unlike in the 1958 B-movie classic The Blob starring Steve McQueen (and its inferior 1980s remake). 

In the film, a meteorite that falls from space creates a red, gooey blob that continues to grow as it devours everything in its path. The lab created "blob" can propel itself across a surface, mimicking the movements of a living creature.

The mass–called self-propelled polymers is comprised of miniscule droplets extracted from living cells. The proteins feed on the same energy as those found in living bodies, allowing the mass to move at the slower-than-snail like pace of 8 nanometers per step – less than the width of a wisp of smoke. 

Scientists hope that the gel can be used to deliver medicine more efficiently into the body or to perhaps target cancer cells and prevent them from growing or spreading to other parts of the human body. As the material is created from natural, biological matter, there would be less of a chance that the body would reject it. 

The material also displays signs that it can self-heal and self-generate, which could be highly useful in treating burn victims. The gel could also have industrial uses, and could be used in television and computer screens, making images even more clearer and brighter. 
"This is a little bit of a Frankenstein experiment," Professor Zvonimir Dogic of Brandeis University told New Scientist magazine. 

1 comment:

  1. The experiment looks really cool and the scientists working on it are really geniuses so far. The blob's looking great and the video was able to capture it nicely.


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