Iranians New Sci-Tech Achievements

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Active ImageIran performs 1st islet cell transplant

For the first time in the Middle East, Iranian researchers have succeeded in transplanting pancreatic islet cells to diabetics, making them free from insulin injection.

Latest figures have pointed out the high prevalence of diabetes in Iran. The topic, therefore, is considered as a national health priority.

“During the past 50 years, a great revolution has been noted in the treatment of diabetes. New types of drugs and insulin have reported promising results in controlling the crippling disease, neither of them, however, have succeeded in completely curing the sufferers,” said Baqer Larijani, the head of the researcher team and the dean of Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

He went on to say that Iranian scientists have recently performed many innovations, including transplanting stem cells, to treat diabetic patients. Transplanting the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin is their latest advance.

In the novel technique, pancreatic cells were extracted from a brain dead individual and thereafter were transplanted to a diabetic after they were purified through a complex technique.

“After doing years of research on animal samples, we have performed the operation for the first time in our country,” said Larijani, stressing that Iran is the first country in the region that has done so.

According to statistics, a limited number of such surgeries have been previously conducted in Japan. Korean scientists have also performed two such operations.

Larijani stressed that the technique is not effective in all the type 1 diabetic patients.

“The treatment is not only complicated but also pricey as patients need immunomedulatory medications for a long time after the transplantation. As a result, the treatment will not be performed on a regular basis for the time being,” said Larijani, adding that Iranian scientists hope they would develop an effective and less pricey method in the near future.

Iranian Researchers Produce High Capacity Optic Discs

Active ImageResearchers at the Persian Gulf University have designed nanoantennas with the highest degree of efficiency. Such antennas will be used to produce oversensitive nanosensors and nanophotons which will help researchers to greatly increase the capacity of optic discs.

Dr. Ahmad Mohammadi, the Iranian researcher in charge of the project, has noted that the project aimed to study behavior of single molecules located close to nanoparticles and the impact of nanoparticles on spontaneous emission from the molecule, which is a hot topic in nano-optics. He added that simultaneous increase in efficiency of antenna and radiation decay rate was a major problem in designing nanoantennas. It will increase efficiency of the antenna within the visible and infrared range for nano-rods and nano-cones and lead to rapid reduction in radiative decay.

The researcher noted that the research team has designed a nanoantenna enjoying the highest efficiency which is measured as the power emitted to a far field divided by total emitted power, as well as the highest rate of radiative decay rate.

Mohammadi then explained about the project saying that a considerable increase in the near field of the nanocone through accurate adjustment of the tip of the nanocone was followed by considerable near field enhancement and radiative decay rate. “We also achieved the highest antenna efficiency by suitable choice of the cone base,” he added.

Physics professor of the Persian Gulf University also noted that the study has proven that by increasing nanocone angle, spectral position of the Plasmon resonance and the scattering efficiency can be localized toward shorter waves without any decrease in quantum efficiency and radiative decay rate.

He concluded by saying that the project has been carried out in cooperation with Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute and nano-optics department of the Swiss ETH University, adding, “Suitable design of nanoantennas can make them useable in such areas as oversensitive nanosensors, solar cells, spectrometry, increasing capacity of optic discs up to several terabytes, and increasing fluorescence of various molecules.”

Active ImageHigh-frequency Radio Telescope Manufactured in Kermanshah

Researchers at Razi University of Kermanshah have designed and produced a radio telescope which operates on high radio frequencies.

Dr. Saeed Atarod, the project manager, has noted that radio telescope is, in fact, a kind of radio which has many applications in astronomy, adding, “This telescope is used to collect astronomical information through radio sources in the space and is able to acquire necessary information from radio sources.”

He said production of radio telescopes has been a turning point in the history of astronomy and stated that due to importance of this instrument in astronomical studies, it has been produced for the first time at Razi university of Kermanshah.

Atarod added that all equipment needed for the telescope including its reflexive base has been designed and produced at the university. The telescope has parabolic mirror measuring 7 meters in diameter and 12 m long which collects high-frequency radio information.

Nanotechnology Used to Produce Valuable Metals

Active ImageResearchers at Sharif University of Technology helped by researchers from Japan's Tohoku University have come up with a new method to produce magnesium nanoparticles which greatly increases the country’s capacity for production of highly valuable metals like magnesium.

Project manager, Dr. Mohammad Noshe, explained about challenges faced for production of magnesium oxide (or magnesia) by saying, “These challenges are related to relatively high balance temperature, reactions shown by nanoparticles and flammability of magnesia. At the same time, cooling at very high rates will prevent reactions among gas products while producing nanostructures under suitable protective atmosphere.”

He added that the research used mechanical grinding to activate reactors, adding, “This process greatly decreases reaction temperatures and synthetic reactions are catalyzed in lower temperatures.”

The researcher then noted that research findings have shown that mechanical activation had a great impact on carbothermic reduction of magnesia.

Pointing to many applications of this method, Noshe added that the method used in this research can be very helpful in industries producing light metals like magnesium. Since this valuable metal is not produced in Iran and is totally imported, thermal methods like carbothermic reduction are of high economic advantages due to Iran’s high energy potentials.

He added that the research has been carried out at Sharif University of Technology in cooperation with Japan's Tohoku University.

Stable Gold Nanoparticles Used for Carrying Medicines and Gene Therapy

Active ImageResearchers at University of Tehran’s Faculty of Pharmacology have produced gold nanoparticles smaller than 20 nanometers which can be used to carry medicines to target cells and for gene therapy.

Dr. Alireza Ne’amati said that due to their electronic and optical properties, gold nanoparticles can be used to diagnose and treat diseases and produce sensors. He added that the research has introduced a new line of chemistry dealing with dendrimers of polyamides and polyamines which are able to produce highly monodispersed nanoparticles of gold.

He added that polyamide and polyamine dendrimers enjoyed unique physical and chemical properties due to their totally monodispersed structure in all kinds of molecules, saying, “This substances are very valuable in medical researches for delivery of medicines to target cells, gene therapy, and for production of sensors and chemical piles.”

The project manager stated that research findings proved that polyamide and polyamine derivatives of dendrimers are capable of encapsulation and stabilization of the primary dendrimers.

Ne’amati pointed out that the research has been a joint work by University of Tehran’s Faculty of Pharmacology and Tarbiat Moallem University’s Faculty of Chemistry.

Stem Cells Used to Repair Neural Damages, Produce Hepatic and Renal Tissue

Active ImageDeputy Director of Royan Institute for Research announced that researchers of the institute have successfully repaired neural damages using stem cells, adding that the project has been tested on dogs in cooperation with Shahid Beheshti University.

Abdolhossein Shahverdi told reporters on the sidelines of Royan Festival that research projects carried out at the institute have been just tested on animals and only a few of them have undergone clinical tests.

He added that studies by the institute on ophthalmological and dermatologic diseases are now at a clinical stage and other projects carried out on cardiac and hepatic diseases, obstruction of lower blood vessels, as well as studies on bones and joints are undergoing clinical tests.

“Early results show that future outlooks are promising and we hope that when clinical tests are over, we would be able to provide patients with suitable services,” he said.

Deputy Director of Royan Institute for Research further stated that tissue engineering is necessary for tissue production and the Institute has been successful in repairing neural and bone damages by using stems cells in cooperation with Dentistry Research Center of Shahid Beheshti University.

He added that neural damages have been repaired in dogs and expressed hope that human subjects could avail themselves of this achievement when clinical tests are over.

Shahverdi further noted that Royan Institute has also produced renal and hepatic tissues, adding, “Production of liver and kidney tissues has been subject of another research which has been carried out by this Institute and is now at laboratory stage.”

Iranian Scientists Make Atomic Force Microscope

Active ImageResearchers of the Iran’s Pardis Technology Park have designed and made an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) as the most important tools for implementing Nano technology projects.

Only seven countries command the science of manufacturing AFM, manager of the project said, adding the Iranian-made AFM is similar to its foreign counterparts in terms of capability with a lower price.

Atomic Force Microscope is an instrument for analyzing surface properties and surface constructions of different materials at nanometer scales.

Atomic force microscopy or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy, with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit.

The precursor to the AFM, the scanning tunneling microscope, was developed by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer in the early 1980s at IBM Research--Zurich, a development that earned them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986.

The first commercially available atomic force microscope was introduced in 1989. The AFM is one of the foremost tools for imaging, measuring, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.

The information is gathered by feeling the surface with a mechanical probe.
Piezoelectric elements that facilitate tiny but accurate and precise movements on (electronic) command enable the very precise scanning.

In some variations, electric potentials can also be scanned using conducting cantilevers. In newer more advanced versions, currents can even be passed through the tip to probe the electrical conductivity or transport of the underlying surface, but this is much more challenging with very few groups reporting reliable data.

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