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Hybrid Nanomaterial Platform Effectively Kills Cancer Cells

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 27 Aug 2018
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Image: A new study claims magnetite-gold hybrid nanomaterials advance theranostic therapies (Photo courtesy of NUST-MISiS).
Image: A new study claims magnetite-gold hybrid nanomaterials advance theranostic therapies (Photo courtesy of NUST-MISiS).
A magnetite-gold particle hybrid nanomaterial could serve as a universal platform to both detect cancer cells and target drug delivery to kill them, claims a new study.

Developed at the Russian National University of Science and Technology (NUST-MISiS; Moscow, Russia), the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), and other institutions, the hybrid nanomaterial is the result of successful epitaxial growth of 25 nm octahedral-shaped magnetite (Fe3O4) nanocrystals on 9 nm gold (Au) seed nanoparticles, using a modified wet-chemical synthesis. The nanoparticles exhibit bulk-like magnetic properties and an octahedral spatial morphology resembling a so-called “nanodumbbell” that is capable of carrying almost any drug to a tumor cell.

The nanoparticles can thus provide two functional surfaces. For instance, they could be conjugated with two fluorescent dyes, or a combination of drug and dye, thus allowing for simultaneous tracking of the nanoparticle vehicle and the drug cargo both in-vitro and in-vivo. For the study, the researchers verified delivery to tumors and payload release in real time using intravital microscopy. Replacing the dyes with cell-specific molecules and drugs could make the Fe3O4-Au hybrids a unique platform for theranostics, claim the researchers.

For example, if the pathogenic cells are tagged with magnetic nanoparticles, they can be diagnosed with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and subsequently destroyed using either a chemotherapy drug or via a strong magnetic field that could heats and kills cancer cells. Preliminary laboratory tests in mice with grafted tumors have already been completed, and the most optimistic researchers on the project say it will be possible to proceed to pre-clinical trials in just two to three years. The study was published on July 26, 2018, in Nature Scientific Reports.

“Hybrid materials for theranostics are increasingly attracting attention since they enable the combination of different properties and functions in one multipurpose hybrid material. In particular, high adaptability is achieved by controlling the surface chemistry,” concluded lead author Mariya Efremova, PhD, of NUST-MISiS, and colleagues. “Due to biocompatibility, Fe3O4 and Au are the materials of choice for therapeutic and diagnostic dual use. Such NPs represent a unique platform for modern theranostics, comprising the diagnostics function together with the ability for studying the cargo and vehicle functions separately and in conjugation.”

Theranostics uses specific biological pathways to acquire diagnostic images and deliver a therapeutic dose of radiation. Once a specific diagnostic test shows a particular molecular target on a tumor, the therapy agent can be specifically targeted to that receptor, providing a more targeted and efficient form of pharmacotherapy.

Related Links:
Russian National University of Science and Technology
University of Duisburg-Essen

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