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!
Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease
27.11.2015 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth, opposite of what was expected
27.11.2015 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
27.11.2015 | Earth Sciences