Carbon nanotubes and other long nanomaterials can spell trouble for cells. The reason: Cells mistake them for spheres and try to engulf them. Once they start, cells cannot reverse course, and complete ingestion never occurs. Researchers at Brown University detail for the first time how cells interact with carbon nanotubes, gold nanowires and asbestos fibers. Results are published in Nature Nanotechnology. More info: news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/09/nanotips

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