Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Quantum dot research could lead to medical advances

Abstract:
Working with atomic-scale particles known as quantum dots, a Missouri University of Science and Technology biologist hopes to develop a new and better way to deliver and monitor proteins, medicine, DNA and other molecules at the cellular level.

Quantum dot research could lead to medical advances

Rolla, MO | Posted on July 24th, 2009

The approach would work much like a virus, but would deliver healing instead of sickness, says Dr. Yue-Wern Huang, associate professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T. Huang is leading the research effort, which is funded through a $225,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Huang's research involves constructing tiny vessels of cell-penetrating proteins to transport the quantum dots, along with proteins, medicine or DNA, into the cell and release them. He likens the process to the ancient story of the Trojan Horse, which according to Greek mythology was used to delivered Odysseus and his army into the enemy city of Troy. But in this instance, the vessel is a "protein transduction domain," the cargo consists of biomolecules or other therapeutic agents, and the walled city is the cell.

Essentially, the nontoxic protein transduction domain, or PTD, is derived from a virus that can penetrate the cellular membrane. But instead of spreading sickness, it would spread medicine or DNA.

Quantum dots are fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals - specks that are only a few nanometers in size - that possess unusual physical and chemical properties, making them attractive as tools for new approaches to medicine. For example, Huang says, the fluorescence of quantum dots does not fade as quickly as that of traditional fluorescent dyes used for tracing or mapping in the body. Moreover, quantum dots have a longer half-life and are more resistant to degradation than traditional fluorescent dyes. Because of these qualities, quantum dots are more effective for detecting cancerous cells and other maladies, Huang says.

"Quantum dots are very photo-stable and they have a very high quantum yield. In other words, you don't need to use very much and it is very easy to detect under the microscope," he says.

Huang and his fellow researchers plan to synthesize cadmium-based fluorescent quantum dots, encapsulated by other elements to render the cadmium harmless, and attach them to protein transduction domain (PTD) materials. The quantum dot/PTD mixture is then combined with the cargo, placed into cell cultures and examined. Though early in the research, Huang says the material populates the cell cultures 10 times faster than a system without PTDs over an hour's time.

According to Huang, this work is unique because it involves the merger of two separate areas of biomedical study - quantum dot research and the PTD delivery system. Before this research, the two disciplines have never been merged, he says.

Huang projects "many potential long-term applications in biomedical areas" to come from this research. They include improvements in medical imaging and monitoring, as well as more efficient delivery of medicines and therapeutic agents at the cellular level and in humans.

Other Missouri S&T researchers working with Huang on the effort are Dr. Jeffrey Winiarz, an assistant professor of chemistry, who is creating the quantum dots, and Dr. Katie Shannon, assistant professor of biological sciences, who is providing bio-imaging expertise.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Office of Public Relations
1201 N. State St.
105 Campus Support Facility
Rolla, MO 65409-0220
Phone: 573-341-4328
Fax: 573-341-6157

Copyright © Missouri University of Science and Technology

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

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

NRL charters Navyís quantum inertial navigation path to reduce drift April 5th, 2024

Discovery points path to flash-like memory for storing qubits: Rice find could hasten development of nonvolatile quantum memory April 5th, 2024

Nanomedicine

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

New micromaterial releases nanoparticles that selectively destroy cancer cells April 5th, 2024

Discoveries

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Quantum Dots/Rods

A new kind of magnetism November 17th, 2023

IOP Publishing celebrates World Quantum Day with the announcement of a special quantum collection and the winners of two prestigious quantum awards April 14th, 2023

Qubits on strong stimulants: Researchers find ways to improve the storage time of quantum information in a spin rich material January 27th, 2023

NISTís grid of quantum islands could reveal secrets for powerful technologies November 18th, 2022

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project