UT Arlington physics researchers may have developed a way to use laser technology to deliver drug and gene therapy at the cellular level without damaging surrounding tissue. The method eventually could help patients suffering from genetic conditions, cancers and neurological diseases.
In a study published recently by the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the team paired crystalline magnetic carbon nanoparticles and continuous wave near-infrared laser beams for in what is called photothermal delivery. Authors of the new paper are Ali Koymen, a professor of physics; Samarendra Mohanty, an assistant professor of physics; and Ling Gu, a researcher in Mohanty’s lab.
The new discovery grew out of previous study where Koymen and Mohanty used a 50 to 100 milliwatt laser and the same carbon nanoparticle, which absorbs the beam, to heat up and destroy cancer cells in the lab. The team used the new photothermal delivery method in lab experiments to introduce impermeable dyes and small DNA molecules into human prostate cancer and fibroblast sarcoma cells.
“In this work, Dr. Mohanty used a lower power, 20 to 30 milliwatt, continuous wave near-infrared laser and the nanoparticle to permeate the cell membrane without killing the cells. This method stretches the desired cell membrane to allow for delivery and has the added bonus of creating a fluid flow that speeds the movement of what is being delivered,” said Koymen, whose lab created the study’s crystalline magnetic carbon nanoparticle using an electric plasma discharge inside a toulene solution.
Introducing foreign DNA or other small molecules directly into cells is essential for some of the most advanced methods being developed in gene therapy, vaccinations, cancer imaging and other medical treatments. Currently, the predominant practice is using viruses for delivery to cells. Unfortunately, the scope of what can be delivered with viruses is severely limited and virus interaction can lead to inflammatory responses and other complications.
Scientists looking to create a path into the cell without employing a virus also have experimented with using UV-visible light laser beams alone. But that method damages surrounding cells and has a relatively shallow level of effectiveness.
A significant advantage of the new method is that the near-infrared light absorption of the nanoparticle can be used to selectively amplify interaction of low power laser with targeted tissue and “laser induced-damage to non-targeted cells along the irradiation path can be avoided,” the report says. The magnetic properties of the nanoparticles also mean they can be localized with an external magnetic field; therefore a smaller concentration can be used effectively.
“Research universities like UT Arlington encourage faculty and students to follow each new discovery with even deeper questions,” said Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science. “With their latest publication, Drs. Koymen, Mohanty and Gu have taken their collaboration to a new level as they keep building toward valuable implications for human health and disease treatment.”
Carbon nanoparticles produced for the cancer study varied from five to 20 nanometers wide. A human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide. The magnetic carbon nanoparticles also are fluorescent. So, they can be used to enhance contrast of optical imaging of tumors along with that of MRI.
Mohanty’s lab is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
About UT Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
Physics Professor Ali Koymen, left, and Samarendra Mohanty, an assistant professor of physics, discuss their research.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.
Traci Peterson | Eurek Alert!
Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?
22.07.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Unconventional quasiparticles predicted in conventional crystals
22.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe
Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.
Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...
Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases
Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...
Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis
A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.
In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...
Chemists at the University of Basel have succeeded in using computer simulations to elucidate transient structures in proteins. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers set out how computer simulations of details at the atomic level can be used to understand proteins’ modes of action.
Using computational chemistry, it is possible to characterize the motion of individual atoms of a molecule. Today, the latest simulation techniques allow...
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
11.07.2016 | Event News
22.07.2016 | Information Technology
22.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
22.07.2016 | Life Sciences