The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Throughout this application various publications are referred to in parenthesis. Full citations for these references may be found at the end of the specification immediately preceding the claims. The disclosures of these publications are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties into the subject application to more fully describe the art to which the subject application pertains.
"Melanin is a high molecular weight pigment that is ubiquitous in nature and has a variety of biological functions (1). Melanins are found in all biological kingdoms. These pigments are among the most stable, insoluble, and resistant of biological materials (30). Melanins can have different structures depending on the biosynthetic pathway and precursor molecules. Some definitions of melanin have focused on chemical and physical properties of melanins instead of defined structures (29). Melanins can be synthesized in the laboratory by chemical means or by many living organisms. Melanins formed by the oxidative polymerization of phenolic compounds are usually dark brown or black (30). However, melanins may have other colors as illustrated by the finding that dopamine-derived melanin is reddish-brown. Fungi can make melanins from at least two major biosynthetic pathways, employing the precursor 1,8-dihydroxynapthalene (DHN melanin) or the oxidation of suitable tyrosine derivatives like dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA-melanin) (30). The fungus C. neoformans can make melanins from a wide variety of phenolic compounds which are oxidized by a laccase enzyme (31-33).
"Melanins protect against UV light by absorbing a broad range of the electromagnetic radiation (1), and the melanin pigment is used in photo-protective creams (10). The presence of melanin is implicated in the resistance of human malignant pigmented melanoma to radiation therapy (9). Many fungi constitutively synthesize melanin (2). The ability of free-living microorganisms to make melanin may be associated with a survival advantage in the environment (3) that includes protection against solar radiation (reviewed in 4). Melanized fungi are also resistant to ionizing radiation (5). An example of such radiation resistance is provided by reports that melanized fungi colonize the walls of the damaged nuclear reactor in Chernobyl (6). The soils around the damaged reactor have blackened as the resident flora changes to include disproportionately more melanotic fungi (7). Water in nuclear reactor cooling pools is sometimes contaminated with melanized microorganisms (8). However, despite the finding of melanotic organisms in such harsh environments, the contribution of melanin to the radiation resistance of these organisms is uncertain."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention is directed to nanoshells comprising melanin.
"The invention also provides methods of protecting an object or a subject from radiation and/or from electronic pulses, where the methods comprise providing a material comprising melanin nanoshells between the object or subject to be protected and a source of the radiation and/or electronic pulses.
"The invention further provides methods of protecting internal organs of a subject from radiation and/or from electronic pulses, where the methods comprise administering to the subject particles comprising melanin nanoshells.
"The invention further provides methods of making a material comprising melanin nanoshells, where the method comprises fabricating melanin nanoshells into and/or onto the material; and materials comprising melanin nanoshells fabricated in and/or on the material.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
"FIG. 1A-1C. Microscopic images of C. neoformans (Cn) cells. A) a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of non-melanized Cn cells; B) TEM image of melanized Cn cells; C) light microscopy image of melanin nanosize spheres. Melanized Cn cells were grown in Sabouraud dextrose broth medium with 1 mM 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanin (L-dopa) for 5 days. Melanin spheres were generated by boiling melanized Cn cells in 6 M HCl.
"FIG. 2A-2D. Survival of non-melanized and melanized Cn and H. capsulatum (Hc) cells following exposure to external gamma rays: A) Cn in
"FIG. 3A-3F. High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) of permanganate-oxidized melanins: A) structure of eumelanin oligomer; B) structure of pheomelanin oligomer (adapted from ref. 17); C) visual appearance of oxidized melanin samples, from left to right: Cn, Hc; D) chromatogram of background solution; E) Cn melanin; F) Hc melanin.
"FIG. 4. Diagram illustrating multiple interactions of a photon passing through matter. Energy is transferred to electrons in a sequence of photon-energy degrading interactions (adapted from (22)).
"FIG. 5. Electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR) spectrum of melanized Hc cells showing characteristic spectrum of melanin.
"FIG. 6A-6B. Survival of non-melanized and melanized fungal cells following exposure to external gamma rays. A) melanized and non-melanized C. neoformans irradiated at 14 Gy/min up to 400 Gy, 0.02 or 0.4 mg of S. officinalis melanin was added to non-melanized cells. B) melanized and non-melanized C. neoformans irradiated at 14 Gy/min up to 200 Gy, 0.01 or 0.1 mg of intact or crushed C. neoformans melanin 'ghosts' was added to samples. Cn--C. neoformans, Hc--H. capsulatum.
"FIG. 7. Poly-lysine-precoated wells in a 96-well ELISA plate were filled with the suspensions of the following substances in poly-lysine solution: A--Sepia melanin; B--C. neoformans ghosts; C--charcoal. For control lead foil was used (D).
"FIG. 8. The image of the radiographic film showing different exposures of the film depending on the substance in the wells. A--Sepia melanin; B--C. neoformans ghosts; C--charcoal. For control lead foil was used (D).
"FIG. 9A-9B. Biodistribution of .sup.188Re-labeled melanized 20 nm silica nanoparticles in BALB/c mice. A) Biodistribution following administration of nanoshell particles only. B) Biodistribution following pre-treatment with pluronic acid followed by administration of nanoparticles. Mice were injected IV with melanized particles. Pluronic acid (0.13 mg/kg body weight) was injected IV 3 hours earlier.
"FIG. 10A-10D. Platelet (A, B) and white blood cell (WBC) (C, D) counts in mice pre-treated with melanized nanoparticles and irradiated with 1.25 Gy of gamma radiation.
"FIG. 11A-11D. Platelet (A, B) and WBC (C, D) counts in mice pre-treated with melanized nanoparticles and irradiated with 2.5 Gy of gamma radiation.
"FIG. 12. Body weights of the control CD-1 mice or mice fed with 15 mg/kg body weight synthetic melanin or C. neoformans ghosts.
"FIG. 13A-13C. Histology of GI organs from CD-1 mice fed with 24067 C. neoformans ghosts and sacrificed 24 hr later: A) stomach; B) small intestine; C) colon.
"FIG. 14. Cumulative weight loss in CD-1 mice fed with either synthetic melanin of C. neoformans ghosts of water (15 mg/kg body weight) and irradiated with 9 Gy whole body dose at 3 Gy/min.
"FIG. 15. Survival of mice fed with either synthetic melanin or C. neoformans ghosts or water (15 mg/kg body weight) and irradiated with 9 Gy whole body dose at 3 Gy/min.
"FIG. 16A-16F. Histology of GI track tissues obtained from CD-1 mice irradiated with 9 Gy at 3 Gy/min 4 hr (
For additional information on this patent application, see: Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo. Melanin Nanoshells for Protection against Radiation and Electronic Pulses. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: Nanoparticle, Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies,
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