Plague vaccine elicits 100% response in mice

A Canadian biomedical company said it has confirmed that a nasal vaccine protects mice against pneumonic Plague caused by lethal aerosol infection. In a series of experiments performed by the US Army Medical and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in collaboration with ID Biomedical, mice nasally immunized with Plague antigen formulated with the Proteosome technology were completely protected against lethality (100%) even when the dose of Plague antigen was ten-fold lower than ever previously given nasally. In marked contrast, none of the control mice given nasal solution without vaccine antigen survived.

Developing motors of light to power small electronic devices

Physicists have successfully measured the angular momentum carried by tiny rings of light called optical vortices, an important step in harnessing their energy to power microelectromechanical (MEMs) devices. Industry observers say that MEMs devices could lead to the production of everything from nanorobots to laboratories-on-a-chip by bringing together silicon-based microelectronics with micromachining technology.

Spread of U.S.-style casinos undermines global stability

From its base in America, the gambling industry is exporting technology and know-how to often fragile political systems in Asia and the Middle East, causing conditions that could threaten both U.S. and world security, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign argues in a law journal article. The lightning spread of “Western-style” gambling overseas has increased the problems of addicted and problem gamblers, organized crime and alleged corruption in such countries as Malaysia, North Korea, the Philippines, South Korea and the strife-torn West Bank of Israel, according to John W. Kindt, an Illinois professor of business and legal policy.

Miniature spectrometer can detect biological hazards

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a miniature device that can identify as little as a fraction of a spore of anthrax and other biological hazards within 30 milliseconds. Such prompt detection and identification of hazardous materials could greatly enhance the protection of first-responder emergency personnel and the capabilities of early warning systems.

Sorting matter with tiny fingers of light

Chicago physicists are set to announce they’ve successfully used multiple beams of light to selectively sort microscopic particles, biological cells and large molecules. Manipulating these beams of light has led to one of the newest techniques in microfluidics, the science of transporting fluids through networks of miniature channels. University of Chicago Physics Professor David Grier calls the new technique “optical fractionation,” because it involves using light to sort one fraction of objects from another.

Study of living eye in real time now possible

A new optics technology is providing scientists with real-time microscopic images of the living retina, and may allow doctors to focus in on earlier diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma. Researchers are using a technology called adaptive optics to peer inside the eyes of human subjects and for the first time get clear, sharp images of features such as blood flow in the eye’s retina. Until now, clear images of the living retina were not possible because the eye’s own structure interferes with the imaging process.

A different kind of spin cycle

We’re used to hearing about spin-offs, but what about spin-outs and spin-ins? Naval laboratories get scores of patents every year. What do you do with all that intellectual property? Ideally, and as long as the technology isn’t sensitive, you’d like to spin it out to other users, including commercial industry. As part of the Department of the Navy’s continuing efforts to streamline its business practices, the Office of Naval Research’s Commercial Technology Transition Officer has conducted a technology transition “wargame” in Potomac, Maryland. Participants from government, industry, and academia focused on “Spin-Out”: transferring Naval technologies from the Department of the Navy to other agencies and the commercial sector.