Jellyfish Stingers as Mini Needles
MetadataShow full item record
This image depicts discharged and undischarged nematocysts from the Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish. Nematocysts are the stinging organelles by which jellyfish immobilize their prey, and is also the cause of many injuries to swimmers on beaches throughout the world. Upon contact with a predator or prey, the nematocyst rapidly discharges its tightly-coiled stinging thread into the animal, injecting venom. Nematocysts are present in many of the cells in the tentacles of jellyfish. The nematocysts pictured here were isolated from the cells to determine their applicability for drug delivery. Nematocysts are a highly evolved and efficient biological structure that could replace conventional needles for administering drugs into a patient. The venom can be replaced with the desired drug. The nematocysts could then be incorporated into a drug-delivery patch and could be used for such applications as insulin delivery for diabetics, or for use with soldiers and terrorism first-responders, where the patch could sense biochemical weapons such as Anthrax and quickly deliver the antidote. This image was captured using a compound microscope equipped with a CCD camera. The image was rotated and cropped for aesthetics, and a scale bar was added to indicate dimension.