nanoparticles are being hailed by many as the future of science -- an
imminent revolutionary evolution in everything from medicine to
energy to construction -- it is still poorly understood how
nanoparticles will get along with biological systems like the human
body over the course of time. Previous studies have shown that
nanoparticles can slip into the body through skin and numerous other
uses in medicine involve injecting doped particles directly into the
blood stream. But where do they end up once their usefulness is
expended and how or do they even get eliminated from the body?
research project at North Carolina State University begun
in November of 2009 and funded by the National Institute of
Health has born some fruit where it concerns specific nanoparticles
-- fullerenes, a group of carbon-based molecules which includes
buckyballs and nanotubes -- and how they react with different types
of biological components. The group, led by Dr. Nancy
Monteiro-Riviere, will publish their first results in the upcoming
August 23rd online edition of Nature
An abstract is available now in the August 15th online edition.
NCSU group used a chemical process based on methods pioneered by Dr.
Xin-Riu Xia, also of NCSU, to screen the fullerenes and understand
how their different surfaces and charges would react to various amino
acids and proteins. This process will help to understand where and
how the particles might end up in the body and how they might be
expelled, and how different particles might be used to further
accelerate in-vitro drug delivery systems.
avenues of study for the project include how nanoparticles are
absorbed in circumstances other than direct injection, such as orally
or through abraded skin.
work the NCSU group has undertaken should help medical science to
refine future nanotech-based
treatments by giving them a means to judge how a particle is
affected once inside the body in terms of susceptibility to binding
and changing toxicity after the particle has bonded to various cells,
as well as where they can expect the particles to end up once their
usefulness has been expended.