Diagnosis and treatment form the basis of modern medicine. Traditionally, they are two separate steps; however, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The term “theranostic” refers to the combination of a diagnostic test with a specific treatment based on the result of the test. This integrated approach should be particularly helpful in providing more targeted treatment for cancer patients. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a research team headed by Zhifei Dai at the Harbin Institute of Technology (China) has now introduced a new theranostic agent that simultaneously serves as a contrast agent for ultrasound imaging and as a drug for the photothermic treatment of tumors.
Ultrasound imaging is a safe and inexpensive diagnostic tool that delivers images in real time. A probe sends out short, directional bursts of sound waves, which are reflected and diffracted differently in the different layers of tissue. Suitable contrast agents, such as tiny gas bubbles, can significantly improve the sensitivity and resolution of the images.
The Chinese researchers wished to develop a new contrast agent that simultaneously acts as a drug for photothermic treatment. In this method of treatment, an agent, such as gold nanoshells, is selectively introduced into a tumor, and this region is then irradiated. This causes the gold particles to become very hot, overheating the diseased tissue and causing it to die off. Gold nanostructures can be made to specifically absorb near-infrared light, a wavelength that can penetrate deep into tissues without causing damage.
For their new theranostic agent, the scientists used a biocompatible polymer to produce nanocapsules containing tiny drops of water. They coated the capsules with gold and removed the water through freeze-drying. This produced tiny air-filled cavities within the microcapsules. These are the contrast agent for the ultrasound; the gold shell acts as the photothermically activated drug.
In animal trials, the new multifunctional agent proved to be nontoxic and demonstrated very good contrast enhancement in ultrasound examinations. When cultures of tumor cells were treated with the microcapsules, the cells could be killed off through irradiation.
“With our new therapeutic contrast agent, we were able to locate the tumor by ultrasound imaging and determine its size,” explains Dai. “With real time monitoring, the tumor could then be irradiated, successful treatment confirmed, and healthy tissue protected.”
Author: Zhifei Dai, Harbin Institute of Technology (China), http://nanobio.hit.edu.cn/CV_DaiZF_EN.html
Title: Gold Nanoshelled Microcapsules Operate as Theranostic Agent for Ultrasound Contrast Imaging and Photothermal Therapy
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201008286
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy