Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MIT nanoparticles may help detect, treat tumors

02.05.2006


A new technique devised by MIT engineers may one day help physicians detect cancerous tumors during early stages of growth.



The technique allows nanoparticles to group together inside cancerous tumors, creating masses with enough of a magnetic signal to be detectable by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

The work appears as the cover feature in the May issue of Angewandte Chemie International Edition, one of the world’s leading chemistry journals.


The research, which is just moving into animal testing, involves injecting nanoparticles (billionths of a meter in size) made of iron oxide into the body, where they flow through the bloodstream and enter tumors.

Solid tumors must form new blood vessels to grow. But because this growth is so rapid in cancerous tumors, there are gaps in the endothelial cells that line the inside of the blood vessels. The nanoparticles can slip through these gaps to enter the tumors.

Once inside the tumor, the nanoparticles can be triggered to group together by a mechanism designed by the MIT engineers. Specifically, certain enzymes, or proteases, inside the tumors cause the nanoparticles to "self-assemble" or stick together. The resulting nanoparticle clumps are too big to get back out of the gaps. Further, the clumps have a stronger magnetic signal than do individual nanoparticles, allowing detection by MRI.

"We inject nanoparticles that will self-assemble when they are exposed to proteases inside of invasive tumors," said Sangeeta N. Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology (HST) and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). "When they assemble they should get stuck inside the tumor and be more visible on an MRI. This might allow for noninvasive imaging of fast-growing cancer ’hot spots’ in tumors." Bhatia also is affiliated with the MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.

The technique initially is being used to study breast tumors. Bhatia added that it eventually may be applied to many different types of cancers and to study the "triggers" that turn a benign mass in the body into a cancerous tumor. Nanoparticles also hold the promise of carrying medicines that could kill cancer cells, replacing radiation or chemotherapy treatments that cause negative side effects such as hair loss or nausea.

The researchers hold a provisional patent on their work.

Co-authors on the paper are Todd Harris and Geoffrey von Maltzahn, HST graduate students; Austin Derfus, a graduate student at the University of California at San Diego; and Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at The Burnham Institute in LaJolla, Calif.

The work was supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Whitaker Foundation.

Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT News Office
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>