Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Therapeutic Nanoparticles Give New Meaning to Sugar-Coating Medicine

24.09.2009
A research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) studying sugar-coated nanoparticles for use as a possible cancer therapy has uncovered a delicate balancing act that makes the particles more effective than conventional thinking says they should be. Just like individuals in a crowd respecting other people’s personal space, the particles work because they get close together, but not too close.

In cooperation with colleagues at The Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth College, the University of Manitoba and two biopharmaceutical companies, the NIST team has demonstrated* that the particles—essentially sugar-coated bits of iron oxide, about 100 nanometers wide—are potent cancer killers because they interact with one another in ways that smaller nanoparticles do not.

The interactions, thought by many bioengineers to be undesirable, actually help the larger particles heat up better when subjected to an alternating magnetic field. Because this heat destroys cancer cells, the team’s findings may help engineers design better particles and treatment methods.

Nanoparticles hold the promise of battling cancer without the damaging side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Minuscule balls of iron oxide can be coated with sugar molecules making them particularly attractive to resource-hungry cancer cells. Once the particles are injected, cancer cells would then ingest them, and doctors would then be able to apply an alternating magnetic field that causes the iron oxide centers to heat, killing the cancer but leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.

Two biotech companies, Micromod Partikeltechnologie and Aduro BioTech, created particles that showed great potential in treating cancers in mice, and they asked NIST to help understand why it worked so well. “But they sent us particles that were much larger than what the conventional wisdom says they should be,” says NIST materials scientist Cindi Dennis. “Larger particles are more strongly magnetic and tend to clump together, which makes them large enough to attract the body’s defense systems before they can reach a tumor. The companies’ nanoparticles, however, did not have this problem.”

Neutron scattering probes at the NIST Center for Neutron Research revealed that the particles’ larger iron oxide cores attract one another, but that the sugar coating has fibers extending out, making it resemble a dandelion—and these fibers push against one another when two particles get too close together, making them spring apart and maintain an antibody-defying distance rather than clumping. Moreover, when the particles do get close, the iron oxide centers all rotate together under the influence of a magnetic field, both generating more heat and depositing this heat locally. All these factors helped the nanoparticles destroy breast tumors in three out of four mice after one treatment with no regrowth.

“The push-pull is part of a tug of war that fixes the distance between nanoparticles,” Dennis says. “This suggests we can stabilize interacting particles in ways that potentially pay off in the clinic.”

The research was funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and used facilities supported by the National Science Foundation.

* C.L. Dennis, A.J. Jackson, J.A. Borchers, P.J. Hoopes, R. Strawbridge, A.R. Foreman, J. van Lierop, C. Gruttner and R. Ivkov. Nearly complete regression of tumors via collective behavior of magnetic nanoparticles in hyperthermia. Nanotechnology, 20 (2009) 395103. [doi:10.1088/0957-4484/20/39/395103]

Chad Boutin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>