Clinicians have often pondered if cancer cells could be selectively targeted, and how payloads ranging from fluorescent dyes to oncology drugs could be accurately delivered to these cells, and then safely cleared through the kidneys. Now, researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Nanotechnology in the College of Engineering at Cornell University have found the answer in the form of a new class of ultra-small nanoparticles that are showing significant potential for cancer diagnosis and treatment, and positive results in pre-clinical and clinical trials.
Researchers are finding that the use of new ultra-small nanoparticles called C-dots allows improved visualization in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans for diagnosis and real-time image-guided intraoperative mapping of nodal metastases to aid in precise surgical excision, currently in Phase II human clinical trials.
These ultra-small particles can also serve as a precision therapeutic solution, targeting and penetrating cancer cells to deliver a range of cancer-killing drugs, with the promise of unused particles and the drugs they carry safely leaving the body through the renal system.
The architecture of the C-dot is an ultra-small silica nanoparticle with a diameter of less than 10 nanometers, first innovated at Cornell University by Ulrich Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering. Silica, also known as silicon dioxide (SiO2), is a widely existing inorganic composition which can be found in many places, e.g. plants, cosmetics, medicine and food such as bread crust.
Multiple near infrared (near-IR) fluorescent dye molecules can be covalently encapsulated inside the silica particle, and the fluorescence brightness of these molecules is further enhanced by the rigid surrounding silica matrix. As a result, the overall fluorescence brightness of C-dots can be one order of magnitude higher than that of dyes alone, delivering new capabilities to surgeons. Meanwhile, the surface of C-dots is covalently covered with polymer chains to increase bio-compatibility. Due to the high versatility of the synthesis chemistry of C-dots, different functional ligands can be selectively attached to the end of some of the polymer chains on the C-dot surface to endow the particles with a variety of functionalities for different applications, including, but not limited to cancer targeting, radio-isotopes chelating, and small molecule drug delivery.
Importantly, the ultra-small hydrodynamic size of C-dots enable them to be efficiently cleared from the body through the renal system.
Image Credit: Elucida Oncology
News This Week
Researchers from Duke University are developing a flu shot with the new technology that was used for two coronavirus vaccines. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna shots use part of the virus's genetic code [...]
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have shown the potential of repurposing an existing and cheap drug into a long-acting injectable therapy that could be used to treat Covid-19. In a paper published in the journal Nanoscale, [...]
Researchers have developed a new superbug-destroying coating that could be used on wound dressings and implants to prevent and treat potentially deadly bacterial and fungal infections. The material is one of the thinnest antimicrobial [...]
The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control [...]
The South African coronavirus variant is better at "breaking through" the defences of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than other forms of the virus, Israeli experts said Sunday. However, one of the authors told AFP that [...]
EPFL scientists have developed AI-powered nanosensors that let researchers track various kinds of biological molecules without disturbing them. The tiny world of biomolecules is rich in fascinating interactions between a plethora of different agents [...]
A team of researchers from the Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern and the Federal Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have assessed virus growth and activation of the cellular [...]
Researchers at Brown University have succeeded in creating the first wireless, implantable, rechargeable, long-term brain-computer interface. The wireless BCIs have been implanted in pigs and monkeys for over 13 months without issue, and human [...]
The coronavirus outbreak made household names of companies like Moderna Inc. and BioNTech SE, whose shots offered hope for ending the pandemic. Now a new wave of vaccines is on the horizon that may get the [...]
Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a new way of using nanomaterials to identify and enrich skeletal stem cells—a discovery which could eventually lead to new treatments for major bone fractures and [...]
In March 2020, Hannu Rajaniemi pivoted his biotech company Helix Nanotechnologies' focus from cancer therapies to Covid-19 vaccines. The role biotech start-ups can play in a pandemic Rajaniemi originally co-founded Helix Nanotechnologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts in [...]
The rapid mass testing strategy costing just £1 a day per child can get children back to school and economies up and running, according to experts. That is the small price of the [...]
Covid-19 vaccines are incredibly good at preventing severe symptoms and hospitalization, but they’re probably less effective at stopping transmission. To do that, we might need a different kind of vaccine altogether. Because SARS-CoV-2 is [...]
For many scientists, challenging the idea that SARS-CoV-2 has natural origins is seen as career suicide. But a vocal few say it shouldn't be disregarded or lumped in with conspiracy theories. Nikolai Petrovsky was scrolling [...]
The most widely used approach to testing for COVID-19 requires a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which involves taking a swab of the back of the throat and far inside the nose. In a [...]