The future for mNPs however appears even brighter. With the design of 'theranostic' molecules, mNPs could play a crucial role in developing one-stop tools to simultaneously diagnose, monitor and treat a wide range of common diseases and injuries.
Multifunctional particles, modelled on viral particles such as the flu and HIV, are being researched and developed to carry signal-generating sub-molecules and drugs, able to reach target areas through a safe sprinkling of tiny mNPs and external magnetic forces, creating a medical means to confirm specific ailments and automatically release healing drugs while inside a living system.
A landmark selection of review articles published this week in IOP Publishing's Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 'Progress in Applications of Magnetic Nanoparticles in Biomedicine', shows just how far magnetic nanoparticles for application in biomedicine have come and what exciting promise they hold for the future.
The magnetic component of the direction-giving nanoparticles is usually an iron-based compound called ferric oxide which is coated in a biocompatible surface, sometimes using, for example, fatty acids, to provide stability during the particles journey through one's body. For biomedicine, the particles are useful because you can add specific signal triggering molecules to identify certain conditions, or dyes to help in medical imaging, or therapeutic agents to remedy a wide-range of afflictions.
Already well documented, mNPs have sparked interest after being attached to stem cells and used in vivo to remedy heart injury in rats. On humans, in 2007, Berlin's Charité Hospital used a technique which involved mNPs, called hyperthermia, to destroy a particularly severe form of brain cancer in 14 patients. The technique, utilising well-tested knowledge that tumour cells are more sensitive to temperature increases than healthy cells, uses mNPs to direct nano-heaters towards the inoperable tumours and, essentially, cook them to death.
Dr Catherine Berry, one of the review paper's authors from the Centre for Cell Engineering in Glasgow, writes, "One of the main forerunners in the development of multifunctional particles for theranostics is magnetic nanoparticles. Following recent advances in nanotechnology, the composition, size, morphology and surface chemistry of particles can all be tailored which, in combination with their magnetic nanoscale phenomena, makes them highly desirable."
From Friday, 6 November, the selection of review articles can be found at http://stacks.iop.org/JPhysD/42/i=22.
Joe Winters | EurekAlert!
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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