Self-Assembling Nanoparticles Image Tumor Cells

Jul 23, 2007

By taking advantage of the full range of ways in which molecules can interact with and bind to one another, a team of investigators at the Carolina Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence has created nanoparticles that assemble themselves layer by layer. These nanoparticles, which contain two different types of imaging agents, also contain a peptide coating that targets tumor cells.

Wenbin Lin, Ph.D., of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led the research effort to develop a relatively simple and versatile strategy for creating multifunctional nanoparticles capable of targeting specific types of cells.

The investigators turned to a strategy known as layer-by-layer self-assembly, in which the various charged chemical components of a nanoparticle put themselves together in such a way that maximizes the interaction of positive and negative charges. The mild chemical environment required to trigger layer-by-layer assembly enabled the researchers to create multifunctional nanoparticles without worrying about damaging the targeting and imaging molecules they wanted to incorporate in the nanoparticles.

In the current work, Lin and colleagues created a silica-based nanoparticle containing a fluorescent dye and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent. The researchers added a tumor-targeting targeting peptide, known as RGD, to the nanoparticle's surface.

Tests with the resulting nanoparticle showed that the nanoparticles were capable of distinguishing between human colon cancer cells and normal cells. In contrast, nanoparticles coated with a peptide that does not bind cancer cells did not show this type of cell specificity. The investigators were able to monitor nanoparticle uptake by both fluorescent imaging and MRI.

This work, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, is detailed in the paper "Self-assembled hybrid nanoparticles for cancer-specific multimodal imaging." An abstract of this paper is available through PubMed.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Explore further: Quantum dots combined with antibodies as a method for studying cells in their native environment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft profit dips as revenue rises

3 hours ago

Microsoft on Monday reported that its quarterly profit dipped as revenue increased with help from sales of Surface tablets, Xbox One consoles and cloud services.

Black hole chokes on a swallowed star

4 hours ago

A five-year analysis of an event captured by a tiny telescope at McDonald Observatory and followed up by telescopes on the ground and in space has led astronomers to believe they witnessed a giant black hole ...

Montana oil spill estimate lowered to 30,000 gallons

5 hours ago

Authorities have lowered their estimate of how much oil spilled from a broken pipeline beneath the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana, briefly contaminating the water supply of a city downstream.

Recommended for you

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers

Jan 26, 2015

Nature has many examples of self-assembly, and bioengineers are interested in copying or manipulating these systems to create useful new materials or devices. Amyloid proteins, for example, can self-assemble ...

Nanoshuttle wear and tear: It's the mileage, not the age

Jan 26, 2015

As nanomachine design rapidly advances, researchers are moving from wondering if the nanomachine works to how long it will work. This is an especially important question as there are so many potential applications, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.