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White blood cells roll and stick: mammals


White blood cells / Bobjgalindo / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

White blood cells of mammals roll along blood vessel walls, and anchor when they find an infection or cell damage via cell-adhesion molecules (CAMs) with variable affinity.

"Dan Hammer of the Univ. of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is studying how white blood cells roll their way through the bloodstream, yet are able to anchor themselves where they are needed. He hopes that if he can devise materials that mimic the cells' roll-and-stick ability, he'll be able to devise a new targeted drug-delivery system. White blood cells have surface proteins called selectins that stick out of the cell surface. Fluid pushes the cell along--bonds form in front and are broken in the back, resulting in the cartwheeling motion." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)

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About the inspiring organism

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Targeted drug delivery system. The roll-and-anchor technique might work in finding leaks in oil pipelines or other delivery systems in which air or fluids flow.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Medical, manufacturing, oil delivery systems

Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter
Daniel Hammer
University of Pennsylvania
Pennisi, E. 2002. Biology reveals new ways to hold on tight. Science. 296(5566): 250-251.
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