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Nanoparticles Act As Mini-Bombs For Cancer Cells

New cancer targeting nanoparticles seem like daily news here at Medgadget. Today we have gold nanoparticles developed jointly by researchers at Rice University and A.V. Lykov Heat and Mass Transfer Institute in Minsk, Belarus that create plasmonic nanobubbles when targeted with a laser. These particles can be guided to a tumor by antibodies and then activated to generate tiny explosions, so clinicians one day will be able to stay back and enjoy.

The short-lived bubbles are very bright and can be made smaller or larger by varying the power of the laser. Because they are visible under a microscope, nanobubbles can be used to either diagnose sick cells or to track the explosions that are destroying them.

In laboratory studies published last year, Dmitri Lapotko and colleagues at the Laboratory for Laser Cytotechnologies at the A.V. Lykov Heat and Mass Transfer Institute in Minsk, Belarus, applied nanobubbles to arterial plaque. They found that they could blast right through the deposits that block arteries.

In the current study, Lapotko and Rice colleague Jason Hafner, associate professor of physics and astronomy and of chemistry, tested the approach on leukemia cells and cells from head and neck cancers. They attached antibodies to the nanoparticles so they would target only the cancer cells, and they found the technique was effective at locating and killing the cancer cells.

Lapotko said the nanobubble technology could be used for “theranostics,” a single process that combines diagnosis and therapy. In addition, because the cell-bursting nanobubbles also show up on microscopes in real time, Lapotko said the technique can be used for post-therapeutic assessment, or what physicians often refer to as “guidance.”

Press release: Rice physicists kill cancer with ‘nanobubbles’

More at Nanowerk: Plasmonic nanobubbles combine diagnosis and treatment in one theranostic method…

Abstract in Nanotechnology: Tunable plasmonic nanobubbles for cell theranostics

Image: Ajda Gregorcic

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*


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