Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Chasing tiny vehicles

Abstract:
Microscope shows how nanoferries invade cells

Chasing tiny vehicles

Munich, Germany | Posted on July 21st, 2009

Nanoparticles are just billionths of a millimeter in size. Exhibiting novel and often surprising properties, they are finding their way into an endless stream of equally innovative products. In medical therapies, for example, tiny nanovehicles could one day ferry drugs or even genes into cells. So far, the only way of testing these approaches has been to wait for the desired effect to show - the activation of a transported gene inside a cell for example. Under the direction of LMU Munich physicochemist Professor Christoph Bräuchle, a research group cooperating with Dr. Christian Plank of the Technische Universität München (TUM) has now used a highly sensitive microscopic technique to pursue individual nanoparticles as they make their way into target cells - in real-time and at high spatial and temporal resolution. They tested magnetic nanoparticles that could be used, among other things, in cancer therapy. This approach should also allow a better understanding of existing nanovectors as well as the development of new systems, as reported in the current cover story of the "Journal of Controlled Release". (Journal of Controlled Release, 20 July 2009)

Nanoparticles are so small that many barriers in the body simply can't stop them. They can also use the bloodstream to reach any part of the body. Researchers and doctors alike hope that these tiny vehicles will one day be put to work in therapies carrying drugs directly to the seat of a disease. "Even genes can be transported this way," says Plank. "That means we could be seeing new breakthroughs in gene therapy soon, which has seen more than its fair share of setbacks. After all, lacking most are functional transporters." Such vehicles or vectors have been developed mainly from viruses until now. But even deactivated viruses can sometimes trigger unwanted side-effects. Nanoferries, on the other hand, have been tailored to deliver genes or drugs directly to the target without side-effects.

For such a targeted delivery, however, nanoferries need a kind of search mechanism to guide them to where their cargo is needed. Magnetic particles have already been tried in cancer therapies: They have been administered by infusion and then directed - via magnetic fields - to a tumor whose cells they should invade directly. But until now, is has been impossible to observe nanoparticles along their route, especially into living tumor cells. It is a prerequisite, though, for therapeutic approval and the definition of functional doses to know the exact path of these carriers and the efficiency of their transport and uptake by cancer cells.

So far, only the appearance or absence of the desired therapeutic effect would tell whether an approach was even promising or not. "It's like a black box," Bräuchle says. "You put something in at one end, then wait and see if anything comes out at the other end. What happens in between is anyone's guess." Now, his workgroup has employed highly sensitive single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to follow the nanoferries on their voyage. This highly sensitive method works by tagging individual particles with a dye that acts like a "molecular lamp" to light up the particle's path into the cell.

"Thus, we have traced magnetic lipoplex nanoparticles and made movies of their transport," reports Anna Sauer, first author of the study. "We were able to watch the particles in real-time and at high temporal and spatial resolution as they made their way into the cells." In doing so, the research team could even define separate phases: how the particles reached the cell membrane, came to rest there and then ultimately - enclosed in a membrane vesicle - invaded the cells. The vesicles move randomly, often downright erratically inside the cell, until a so-called motor protein binds them and quickly transports them towards the cell nucleus - the ultimate target for the gene.

The research team is now in a position to characterize and describe in great detail the individual steps along this path. "Our new approach has also revealed bottlenecks in nanoferry transport," Bräuchle reports. "We saw, for example, that the magnetic field can only direct particles outside cells. But, contrary to expectations, it did not facilitate entry into cells. Thanks to these new insights, existing nanoferries can be suitably optimized in future, and even new systems developed." (suwe)

The work was performed in the scope of the clusters of excellence NIM and CiPSM.

Publication:
"Dynamics of magnetic lipoplexes studied by single particle tracking in living cells",
A.M. Sauer, K.G. de Bruin, N. Ruthardt, O. Mykhaylyk, C. Plank, C. Bräuchle,
Journal of Controlled Release, 20 July 2009

####

About Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
With degree programs available in 150 subjects in numerous combinations, the array of courses we have to offer is extremely wide. Some 44,000 students, 15 percent of whom come to us from abroad, are currently taking advantage of these opportunities. They view their studies as an investment in the future, a launching pad for their later careers.

LMU Munich takes the education of young people very seriously. When we speak of academic diversity, we also mean a comprehensive education that encompasses social skills alongside a critical awareness of values and history. This includes the Munich legacy of the Weisse Rose, the student-based resistance group that opposed Nazism.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Professor Christoph Bräuchle
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München
Tel.: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 77547
Fax: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 77548

www.cup.uni-muenchen.de/pc/braeuchle

Copyright © Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

INSCX™ exchange to present Exchange trade reporting mechanism for engineered nanomaterials (NMs) to UK regulation agencies, insurers and upstream/downstream users April 17th, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds April 17th, 2014

More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale April 17th, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Continues Its Blog Series to Highlight Most Impactful Portfolio Companies With Champions Oncology, Inc. April 17th, 2014

Tools

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale April 17th, 2014

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone April 15th, 2014

In latest generation of tiny biosensors, size isn't everything: UCLA researchers overturn conventional wisdom on nanowire-based diagnostic devices April 11th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE