Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle
Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles can be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. In addition, the particles are biocompatible and have shown no toxicity,
"These are amazingly useful particles," noted co-first author Yuanpei Li, a research faculty member in the Lam laboratory.
"As a contrast agent, they make tumors easier to see on MRI and other scans. We can also use them as vehicles to deliver chemotherapy directly to tumors; apply light to make the nanoparticles release singlet oxygen (photodynamic therapy) or use a laser to heat them (photothermal therapy)—all proven ways to destroy tumors."
This has been difficult to achieve, especially in an organic, and therefore biocompatible, vehicle.
"This is especially valuable in cancer treatment, where targeted treatment to tumor cells, and the reduction of lethal effects in normal cells, is so critical," she added.
Though not the first nanoparticles, these may be the most versatile. Other particles are good at some tasks but not others. Non-organic particles, such as quantum dots or gold-based materials, work well as diagnostic tools but have safety issues. Organic probes are biocompatible and can deliver drugs but lack imaging or phototherapy applications.
Hispanic #1 Breaking News for Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Small Business Owners - HispanicBusiness.com
OCTOBER 31, 2014
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