Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Nanomedicine: ending 'hit and miss' design

Jennifer West, Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering
Jennifer West, Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering

Abstract:
Rice, TMC team wins stimulus funds for nanoparticle standardization.

Nanomedicine: ending 'hit and miss' design

Houston, TX | Posted on December 9th, 2009

One of the promises of nanomedicine is the design of tiny particles that can home in on diseased cells and get inside them. Nanoparticles can carry drugs into cells and tag cells for MRI and other diagnostic tests; and they may eventually even enter a cell's nucleus to repair damaged genes. Unfortunately, designing them involves as much luck as engineering.

"Everything in nanomedicine right now is hit-and-miss as far as the biological fate of nanoparticles," said Rice University bioengineering researcher Jennifer West. "There's no systematic understanding of how to design a particle to accomplish a certain goal in terms of where it goes in a cell or if it even goes into a cell."

West's lab and 11 others in the Texas Medical Center -- including three at Rice's BioScience Research Collaborative -- are hoping to change that, thanks to a $3 million Grand Opportunity (GO) grant from the National Institutes of Health. NIH established the GO grant program with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

One problem facing scientists today is that nanoparticles come in many shapes and sizes and can be made of very different materials. Some nanoparticles are spherical. Others are long and thin. Some are made of biodegradable plastic and others of gold, carbon or semiconducting metals. And sometimes size -- rather than shape or material -- is all-important.

West demonstrates this using a video on her computer that was created by Rice GO grant investigator Junghae Suh. The movie was created by snapping an image with a microscope every few seconds. In the video, dozens of particles move about inside a cell. Half of the particles are tagged with a red fluorescent dye and move very slowly. The rest are green and zip from place to place.

"These are made of the same material and have the same chemistry," said West, Rice's Isabel C. Cameron Professor and department chair of Bioengineering. "They are just different sizes. Yet you can see the profound differences in how they are moving in the cell. As we start to explore out further in the range of sizes and in altering the chemistry of the particles, we think we're likely to see even bigger impacts on where things go inside the cell."

The job of determining whether that's the case falls to Suh, assistant professor in bioengineering at Rice. Unlike other studies in the field, which rely on snapshots of dead cells, Suh's method lets researchers track single particles in living cells. Her lab will use the method in side-by-side comparisons of particles provided by the other 11 laboratories in the study.

In all, eight classes of nanoparticles will be studied. These include long, thin tubes of pure carbon called fullerenes, tiny specks of semiconductors called quantum dots, pure gold rods and spheres, as well as nanoshells -- nanoparticles invented at Rice that consist of a glass core covered by a thin gold shell. In addition, Suh's lab will examine organic particles made of polyethylene glycol and of chitosan.

"We will use a method called single-particle tracking to capture the dynamics of nanoparticle movement in live cells," Suh said. "Using confocal microscopy, we first create movies of the particles as they transit the cells. Then, we use image-processing software to extract information about how fast they move, what regions they're attracted to, etc. By comparing the movement and fate of the various nanoparticles designed by the multiple research laboratories, we hope to identify correlations between a nanoparticle's physicochemical properties and their intracellular behavior."

At the end of the two-year study, the team hopes to have a database that charts the expected response of particles of a given size, type and chemistry. Ultimately, the hope is to provide researchers with a tool that will help predict how a particular particle is likely to behave. That, in turn, could help researchers speed the development of new treatments for disease.

"We want to understand where the particles go inside the cell, what organelles they associate with, whether or not they associate with any of the cytoskeletal structures and how they move inside the cell," Suh said. "For different applications, you're going to want your particles going to different places. We need to know where they go and how they behave so we can design the right particle for a particular job."

"We are thrilled to get the opportunity to really join forces to study this," Suh said. "It's just the sort of problem that requires the kind of support NIH is providing with ARRA funding. It's a problem that really requires a multidisciplinary, interinstitutional approach."

The project's other principal investigators include Rebekah Drezek and Lon Wilson, both of Rice; Mauro Ferrari, Paolo Decuzzi, David Gorenstein, Jim Klostergaard, Chun Li, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein and Anil Sood, all of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; and Wah Chiu of Baylor College of Medicine.

GO grant funding is provided by the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences. NIH established the GO grant program to support projects that address large, specific research endeavors that are likely to deliver near-term growth and investment in biomedical research and development, public health and health care delivery.

####

Contacts:
Jade Boyd
PHONE: 713-348-6778

Copyright © Rice University

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

Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors August 1st, 2014

President Obama Meets U.S. Laureates of 2014 Kavli Prizes August 1st, 2014

Stanford researchers seek 'Holy Grail' in battery design: Pure lithium anode closer to reality with development of protective layer of interconnected carbon domes August 1st, 2014

Air Forceís 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

Chemistry

Nanostructured metal-oxide catalyst efficiently converts CO2 to methanol: Highly reactive sites at interface of 2 nanoscale components could help overcome hurdle of using CO2 as a starting point in producing useful products July 31st, 2014

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics July 30th, 2014

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Waste Cotton Fibers to Produce Cellulose Nanoparticles July 29th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors August 1st, 2014

President Obama Meets U.S. Laureates of 2014 Kavli Prizes August 1st, 2014

Stanford researchers seek 'Holy Grail' in battery design: Pure lithium anode closer to reality with development of protective layer of interconnected carbon domes August 1st, 2014

Air Forceís 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

Possible Futures

Air Forceís 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

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

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Nanotubes/Buckyballs

SouthWest NanoTechnologies Names NanoSperse as A SWeNT Certified Compounder July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

University of Houston researchers create new method to draw molecules from live cells: Technique using magnetic nanomaterials offers promise for diagnosis, gene therapy July 17th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Taking the guesswork out of cancer therapy: New molecular test kit predicts patientís survival and drug response August 1st, 2014

Arrowhead to Report Fiscal 2014 Third Quarter Financial Results- Conference Call Scheduled for Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - July 31st, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 30th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Announcements

Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors August 1st, 2014

President Obama Meets U.S. Laureates of 2014 Kavli Prizes August 1st, 2014

Stanford researchers seek 'Holy Grail' in battery design: Pure lithium anode closer to reality with development of protective layer of interconnected carbon domes August 1st, 2014

Air Forceís 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

Quantum Dots/Rods

Researchers create quantum dots with single-atom precision June 30th, 2014

New Los Alamos Approach May Be Key to Quantum Dot Solar Cells With Real Gains in Efficiency: Nanoengineering Boosts Carrier Multiplication in Quantum Dots June 19th, 2014

MIPT-based researcher predicts new state of matter June 17th, 2014

Technology using microwave heating may impact electronics manufacture June 10th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Taking the guesswork out of cancer therapy: New molecular test kit predicts patientís survival and drug response August 1st, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Invests in Unique NYC Biotech Accelerator July 29th, 2014

Seeing is bead-lieving: Rice University scientists create model 'bead-spring' chains with tunable properties July 28th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 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