Nanoparticle Probes Light Up Cancer Cells

Nov 06, 2006

Cancer biologists are always on the lookout for new methods of studying the effects that drug therapy has on malignant cells. Now they have a new tool – silver nanoparticles, embedded in nanoscale silica spheres, which can create cellular markers with a wide variety of colors that can be observed under the microscope. These nanoscale tags could provide a boost to high-throughput drug screening efforts.

Reporting its work in the journal Analytical Chemistry, a research team headed by Yoon–Sik Lee, Ph.D., developed their nanoparticle probes to be used in conjunction with Raman spectroscopy, a technique well-suited to high-throughput assays. Though other groups have developed nanoparticle-based Raman probes, those that use single nanoparticles do not produce an easily readable optical signal.

The solution that Lee and his colleagues developed was to embed multiple silver nanodots and special dye molecules on the surface of silica spheres. The silver nanodots interact electronically with the dye molecules to produce a bright optical signal in a Raman spectrometer.

The researchers also developed methods for attaching cell-targeting molecules, such as antibodies, to the outside of the silica spheres without interfering with the optical properties of the final nanoparticle. In the work reported in this paper, the researchers used antibodies that target the HER2 receptor on breast cancer cells. Experiments showed that the targeted nanodots did bind to breast cancer cells with the HER2 receptor and were easily spotted using Raman spectroscopy.

This work is detailed is a paper titled, “Nanoparticle probes with surface enhanced Raman spectroscopic tags for cellular cancer targeting.” An abstract of this paper is available through PubMed.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Explore further: Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

3-in-1 optical skin cancer probe

Aug 05, 2014

As thousands of vacationers hit the beach this summer, many of them will expose their unprotected bare limbs to direct UV sunlight, potentially putting them at risk of skin cancer later in life. To fight ...

Analyzing living cells quickly and accurately

Apr 02, 2014

In order to investigate inflammation, tumors or stem cells, medical practitioners analyze living cells. Non-invasive optical procedures such as Raman spectroscopy accelerate this procedure. Researchers have ...

Molecular pathology via IR and Raman spectral imaging

Dec 10, 2013

IR and Raman spectral imaging can distinguish between tissue types, disease types and stages, and even identify the primary tumors from spectral patterns observed in metastatic cells. Furthermore, these techniques ...

The infinitely small tackles counterfeiting

Oct 16, 2013

The University of Montreal chemist Richard Martel explores a vast world on a tiny scale. "There are more H2O molecules in a sip of water [≈1024] than there are seconds since the Big Bang [≈1018]," he s ...

Recommended for you

Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels

17 hours ago

A simple and effective way of unravelling the often tangled mass of DNA is to 'thread' the strand into a nano-channel. A study carried out with the participation of the International School for Advanced Studies ...

Сalculations with nanoscale smart particles

Aug 19, 2014

Researchers from the Institute of General Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and MIPT have made an important step towards ...

Attack Ebola on a nanoscale

Aug 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 900 lives since February and has infected thousands more. Countries such as Nigeria and Liberia have declared health emergencies, ...

User comments : 0