This is the week of the gelators. Here's another one:
This gelator is part of some new research (open access) showing a creative use for hydrogels.
As a quick aside following up on yesterday's comments, I can't rationalize the gel-forming ability of this one at all - at least not until I see some x-ray data or other structural test results (and then my hindsight would be 20/20). Regardless, this one has some very important properties that would be of interest for up to half the population of the earth - the men. Or at least those men suffering from prostate cancer.
Prostrate cancer cells give off an antigen known as PSA [*]. When the gel is prepared, a second molecule is added. This second molecule has two parts, one of which is degrade by the PSA. When the degradation occurs, the remaining fragment of the second molecule no longer stays in the gel. With appropriate choices, that fragment can then be taken up by the prostrate cancer, a very effective way to deliver therapeutics to the prostrate and basically no where else.
[*] "Prostate specific antigen". No relation to pressure-sensitive adhesive. Don't ever do a patent or lit search for PSA or you will get hits from both fields. I know. Been there, done that. And googling it is even worse as then you can get all the public services announcements.
Update 8/2/2010. Eric Brown of "The Rheol World" commented that I had used "prostrate" instead of "prostate". This misuse has been corrected, although the cancer can certainly leave you prostrate.
Also, I added an additional meaning for the abbreviation "PSA".