New genre of sugar-coated 'quantum dots' for drug delivery

Mar 04, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists in Switzerland are reporting an advance that could help tap the much-heralded potential of “quantum dots”— nanocrystals that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light — in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. They are publishing the first study showing that giving quantum dots an icing-like cap of certain sugars makes these nanoparticles accumulate in the liver but not other parts of the body.

That selective targeting could be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs to one organ, without causing the body-wide side-effects that occur with existing cancer drugs, they suggest. Their study is in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In the new report, Peter H. Seeberger and colleagues note that quantum dots, about 1/5,000th the width of a human hair, are used in solar cells, medical diagnostic imaging, and electronics. Scientists believe these particles also show promise for drug delivery for treating cancer and other diseases. However, researchers still have not found an ideal way to target these dots to specific tissues or organs in order to maximize their effectiveness and limit toxicity.

They describe development of a new type of quantum dot coated with certain sugar molecules that are attracted to receptors in specific tissues and organs. In a study with laboratory mice, the scientists coated quantum dots with either mannose or galactosamine, two sugars that accumulate selectively in the liver. The sugar-coated dots became three times more concentrated in the mice livers than the regular dots, demonstrating their higher specificity, the researchers say.

More information: Journal of the American Chemical Society, “In Vitro Imaging and in Vivo Liver targeting with Carbohydrate Capped Quantum Dots”

Provided by ACS

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Addressing the weak optical absorption of graphene

Sep 10, 2014

Graphene-based photodetectors have attracted strong interest because of their exceptional physical properties, which include an ultra-fast response across a broad spectrum, a strong electron–electron interaction ...

Alcohol clouds in space

Sep 09, 2014

Yes, there is a giant cloud of alcohol in outer space. It's in a region known as W3(OH), only about 6500 light years away. Unfortunately it is methyl alcohol (commonly known as wood alcohol, though this stuff ...

Nano-pea pod model widens electronics applications

Sep 04, 2014

Periodic chain-like nanostructures are widely used in nanoelectronics. Typically, chain elements include the likes of quantum rings, quantum dots, or quantum graphs. Such a structure enables electrons to ...

Recommended for you

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

12 hours ago

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

14 hours ago

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

The future face of molecular electronics

14 hours ago

The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, ...

User comments : 0