Manipulating nanoparticles' surface chemistry holds medical promise

Aug 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Swapping the chemical groups that originally coat iron oxide nanoparticles and making the particles soluble in biological solvents shows great promise for medical applications, such as drug delivery and contrast agents, according to a recent publication by University of Alabama engineers and scientists highlighted in Nature magazine.

According to an article published in the Aug. 4 issue of Nature, “the tiny particles of can have their surface chemistry manipulated to make them soluble in water and so more useful in medical application.”

Dr. Yuping Bao, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, works with iron oxide , particularly for biomedical applications such as drug delivery and bioimaging. The water solubility and surface functionality of the nanoparticles are key parameters to their interactions with biological systems. Depending on the application, the surface coating of the nanoparticle significantly impacts its efficacy.

The properties of many conventional materials change when formed from nanoparticles because nanoparticles have a greater surface area per weight than larger particles. Therefore, a challenge with using nanoparticles in medical situations is keeping them stable in an aqueous environment like the human body.

Bao and a UA research team found that the process works best when the original coatings of the iron oxide nanoparticles were trioctylphosphine oxide and replaced with poly (acrylic acid), polyethylenimine or glutathione, which produced charged nanoparticles in an aqueous solution.

The University’s Office for Technology Transfer is working with Bao on filing for patent protection and researching commercial opportunities.

Explore further: Nanocontainers for nanocargo: Delivering genes and proteins for cellular imaging, genetic medicine and cancer therapy

Provided by University of Alabama

4.5 /5 (2 votes)

Related Stories

Making Better Magnetic Nanoparticles

Dec 18, 2006

Using a polymer coating designed to resemble the outer surface of a cell membrane, a team of investigators led by Steve Armes, Ph.D., of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, has created a highly stable, biocompatible ...

New Nanoparticle Structure Boosts Magnetic Properties

Dec 19, 2005

Magnetic nanoparticles have shown promise as contrast-enhancing agents for improving cancer detection using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as miniaturized heaters capable of killing malignant cells, and as targeted drug ...

Nanoparticles Designed for Dual-Mode Imaging

Dec 18, 2006

Nanoscale, inorganic fluorescent imaging agents such as quantum dots have become an important tool for researchers studying key biomolecules involved in cancer. At the same time, magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are proving ...

Labeling Cells with Magnetic Nanoparticles

Feb 20, 2007

Investigators at the German Cancer Research Center have developed silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticles that allow for cell tracking in a live animal using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). More sensitive methods for tracking ...

A new process for making much-sought iron nanospheres

Feb 19, 2007

Using a process that creates bubbles as hot as the surface of the sun, chemists are reporting development of a new method for making hollow hematite (iron oxide) nanospheres. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's ...

Recommended for you

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale

1 hour ago

University of Minnesota electrical engineering researchers have developed a unique nanoscale device that for the first time demonstrates mechanical transportation of light. The discovery could have major ...

Engineered proteins stick like glue—even in water

Sep 21, 2014

Shellfish such as mussels and barnacles secrete very sticky proteins that help them cling to rocks or ship hulls, even underwater. Inspired by these natural adhesives, a team of MIT engineers has designed ...

Smallest possible diamonds form ultra-thin nanothreads

Sep 21, 2014

For the first time, scientists have discovered how to produce ultra-thin "diamond nanothreads" that promise extraordinary properties, including strength and stiffness greater than that of today's strongest ...

A nanosized hydrogen generator

Sep 20, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost ...

User comments : 0