The new melanoma-targeting nanoparticles were developed by Ulrich Wiesner, professor of materials science at Cornell. He's worked with a group led by Michelle Bradbury, a radiologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City, to test the nanoparticles in animals. Bradbury is also leading the clinical trial. The researchers hope to use the nanoparticles to address two major clinical needs. First, they want to use it to develop a therapy that seeks out melanoma tumors. "There's never been a targeted therapy for melanoma," says Bradbury. Melanoma starts on the skin, but when it spreads to other parts of the body, it is invisible and deadly. A targeted therapy would seek melanoma out no matter where it has spread.The technology, according to the article, is based on a particle which has a silica sphere for a core measuring approximately eight nanometers in diameter. The core is surrounded by an organic dye molecule that emits infrared light. This is then coated with a biocompatible polymer that helps the nanoparticles stick around in the body. The technology was developed more than 10 years ago by Wiesner and a former student, and the nanoparticles are currently being made by Hybrid Silica Technologies. While the particles in the trial are specifically focused on detecting melanoma, the coated nanoparticles can be modified to serve many different purposes. To read more about this promising new technology, see the full article in MIT's Tech Review.
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February 22nd, 2011
This post is presented by SBE, the Society for Biological Engineering—a global organization of leading engineers and scientists dedicated to advancing the integration of biology with engineering.