The purple laser developed by scientists at St Andrews and the ‘new’ cells.
The University of St Andrews reports about a new way to deliver genes intracellularly using a purple laser:
Leading laser scientists at the University of St Andrews have developed a new method of delivering genes to cells using laser light. The new technique, which is cheap and powerful, could have important implications for future studies in biomedicine and healthcare.
Optical technology has huge potential for novel developments in the bio-medical field and St Andrews has outstanding research groups in this area. The new method – which involves a miniature violet laser – is cheap, simple, powerful and versatile. Its adaptability means it could have potentially wide medical applications including gene therapy, the delivery of anti- cancer agents and advanced studies of neuro-degenerative diseases.
The new technique involves the violet laser being focused onto cell membranes for a fraction of a second – this causes the membrane to open up, allowing foreign genes to enter. The cell’s internal mechanism causes the membrane of the cell to heal itself thus appearing to suffer no long- lasting damage. After inserting the genes, the team grew the cells, which appeared to remain healthy and multiplied normally. The presence of the inserted gene in the multiplied cells was then confirmed by observing the red/green fluorescent proteins produced by the ‘new’ gene.