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Arzt and Suresh both caution that it’s too early to say that understanding the mechanics of human cells will lead to more effective treatments. But what excites them and others in the field is the ability to measure the properties of cells with unprecedented precision. That excitement seems to be spreading: in October, Suresh helped inaugurate the Global Enterprise for Micro-Mechanics and Molecular Medicine, an international consortium that will use nanomeasurement tools to tackle major health problems, including malaria, sickle-cell anemia, cancer of the liver and pancreas, and cardiovascular disease. Suresh serves as the organization’s founding director.
“We know mechanics plays a role in disease,” says Suresh. “We hope it can be used to figure out treatments.” If it can, the tiny field of nanomeasurement could have a huge impact on the future of medicine.
Eduard Arzt – Structure and mobility of pancreatic cancer cells
Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart, Germany
Peter David and Genevieve Milon – Parasite-host interaction; mechanics of the spleen
Pasteur Institute, Paris, France
Ju Li – Models of internal cellular structures
Ohio State University
C. T. Lim and Kevin Tan – Red-blood-cell mechanics
National University of Singapore
Home page image courtesy of Subra Suresh.