Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanoparticles offer new hope for detection and treatment

25.04.2005


The nanoparticles shown here are irregularly shaped due to the fixing process for electron microscopes. They are normally perfect spheres.


The top image shows an MRI of a melanoma tumor without nanoparticles. The bottom one shows the same tumor lighted up by nanoparticles.


Particles could make earlier cancer diagnosis possible

Specially designed nanoparticles can reveal tiny cancerous tumors that are invisible by ordinary means of detection, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The researchers demonstrated that very small human melanoma tumors growing in mice—indiscernible from the surrounding tissue by direct MRI scan—could be "lit up" and easily located as soon as 30 minutes after the mice were injected with the nanoparticles.



Because nanoparticles can be engineered to carry a variety of substances, they also may be able to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to malignant tumors as effectively as they carry the imaging materials that spotlight cancerous growth. "One of the best advantages of the particles is that we designed them to detect tumors using the same MRI equipment that is in standard use for heart or brain scans," says senior author Gregory Lanza, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine. "We believe the technology is very close to being useful in a hospital setting."

Lanza and his colleague Samuel Wickline, M.D., professor of medicine, are co-inventors of this nanoparticle technology. The effectiveness of the nanoparticles in diagnosis and therapy in humans will be tested in clinical trials in about one and a half to two years. The spherical nanoparticles are a few thousand times smaller than the dot above this "i," yet each can carry about 100,000 molecules of the metal used to provide contrast in MRI images. This creates a high density of contrast agent, and when the particles bind to a specific area, that site glows brightly in MRI scans.

In this study, MRI scans picked up tumors that were only a couple of millimeters (about one twenty-fifth of an inch) wide. Small, rapidly growing tumors cause growth of new blood vessels, which feed the tumors. To get the particles to bind to tumors, the researchers equipped them with tiny "hooks" that link only to complementary "loops" found on cells in newly forming blood vessels. When the nanoparticles hooked the "loops" on the new vessels’ cells, they revealed the location of the tumors. Nanoparticles are particularly useful because of their adaptability, according to Lanza, who sees patients at Barnes Jewish Hospital. "We can also make these particles so that they can be seen with nuclear imaging, CT scanning and ultrasound imaging," Lanza says.

In addition, the particles can be loaded with a wide variety of drugs that will then be directed to growing tumors. "When drug-bearing nanoparticles also contain an imaging agent, you can get a visible signal that allows you to measure how much medication got to the tumor," Lanza says. "You would know the same day you treated the patient and if the drug was at a therapeutic level." Using nanoparticles, drug doses could be much smaller than doses typically used in chemotherapy, making the procedure potentially much safer. "The other side of that is you have the ability to focus more drug at the tumor site, so the dose at the site might be ten to a thousand times higher than if you had administered the drug systemically," Lanza says.

The nanoparticles also may permit more effective follow up, because a doctor could use them to discern whether a tumor was still growing after radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Although this study focused on melanoma tumors, the researchers believe the technology should work for most solid tumors, because all tumors must recruit new blood vessels to obtain nutrients as they grow. Nevertheless, melanoma has unique traits that make it especially interesting as a target for nanoparticle therapy. Melanoma has a horizontal phase, when it spreads across the skin surface, and a vertical phase, when it goes deep into the body and grows quickly. "Once melanoma has moved into its vertical phase, it is almost untreatable because by the time the tumors are large enough to detect, it’s too late," Lanza says. "With the nanoparticles, we believe we would be able to see the smallest melanoma tumors when they are just large enough to begin new blood vessel formation. Plus, we should be able to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs right to melanoma cells, because melanoma tumors create blood vessels using their own cells."

Jim Dryden | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>