Friday, April 4, 2008

Building blocks: bringing nano and stem cells together

In this article on a new nano & stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries, the "nano gel" that enables stem cells to treat a spinal cord injury is referred to as a "building block" - I find this extremely interesting, given that stem cells have long been referred to as "building blocks" by numerous relevant communities (medical, media, publics). Despite stem cells' shady origins with embryos, the US public is generally very optimistic about their potential use as a medical treatment. Aligning nanotechnology with stem cells by using the most oft-associated metaphor of the "building block" is a smart move for those who want to positively shape nano's public image.

The "building block" image is used to explain how the nano-gel uses the process of self-assembly to support stem cell functions - again, this is pretty smooth, since the "self-assembly" image is one of the potentially problematic images of nano.


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