Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanotechnology May Find Disease Before It Starts

Date:
April 24, 2006
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Nanotechnology may one day help physicians detect the very earliest stages of serious diseases like cancer, a new study suggests. It would do so by improving the quality of images produced by one of the most common diagnostic tools used in doctors' offices -- the ultrasound machine.

Nanotechnology may one day help physicians detect the very earliest stages of serious diseases like cancer, a new study suggests.

It would do so by improving the quality of images produced by one of the most common diagnostic tools used in doctors' offices – the ultrasound machine.

In laboratory experiments on mice, scientists found that nano-sized particles injected into the animals improved the resulting images. This study is one of the first reports showing that ultrasound can detect these tiny particles when they are inside the body, said Thomas Rosol, a study co-author and dean of the college of veterinary medicine at Ohio State University.

“Given their tiny size, nobody thought it would be possible for ultrasound to detect nanoparticles,” he said.

It turns out that not only can ultrasound waves sense nanoparticles, but the particles can brighten the resulting image. One day, those bright spots may indicate that a few cells in the area may be on the verge of mutating and growing out of control.

“The long-term goal is to use this technology to improve our ability to identify very early cancers and other diseases,” said Jun Liu, a study co-author and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Ohio State University. “We ultimately want to identify disease at its cellular level, at its very earliest stage.”

The study is in the current issue of the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology.

The researchers injected a solution of silica nanoparticles into the tail vein of each mouse. They then anesthetized the animals and placed them on their backs on a warm imaging table.

Rosol said that Liu and her team are working on creating biodegradable nanoparticles. For the purposes of this study, however, the researchers wanted to use a hard substance, silica, to see if their idea would work. The strongest ultrasound signals are those produced by sound waves bounce off a hard surface. While not biodegradable, the nanoparticles used in the study were biologically inert.

The researchers took ultrasound images of the animals' livers every five minutes for 90 minutes after the injection. The nanoparticles had accumulated in the animals' livers. Another future step for this work is to label nanoparticles with a molecular road map of sorts, which would direct the particles to go to specific locations in the body.

“The liver takes up foreign substances in the body, so it's not surprising that that's where we saw the particles,” Rosol said. “But we ultimately want to be able to make these particles to go to the mammary glands or other tissues we're interested in.”

The ultrasound images grew brighter over the 90-minute period. The researchers compared these images to those from a group of control mice injected with a saline solution. There was no change in ultrasound image brightness in the control mice after that injection.

While this research is still in its infancy, Rosol and his colleagues foresee a day when nanotechnology can alert a physician to the beginnings of cancer or heart disease, perhaps in a woman who has a family history of breast cancer:

“Her doctor could inject the breast with nanoparticles and the resulting ultrasound image would alert the doctor to any suspicious areas in the tissue, even at the cellular level,” Rosol said.

The hope is that combining ultrasound and nanotechnology may provide a definitive diagnosis in lieu of an invasive procedure like a biopsy.

“These nanoparticles may make it possible for physicians to screen for tumors very quickly, and perhaps lessen the need for a biopsy in many cases,” Liu said.

Nanoparticles are smaller than any cell in the human body, so they may pass through the walls of the leaky blood vessels, or capillaries, of tumor tissue and actually infiltrate the tumor.

“Until now, nobody knew what these particles would do in the blood,” Rosol said. “But they made it into the liver.

And despite their miniscule size, nanoparticles are still big enough to carry a payload of medicine, Rosol said.

“That the particles made it into the liver suggests that they could be used to deliver toxic chemotherapeutic drugs that would act locally on a tissue, at the site of a tumor, and not have such a pronounced affect on the rest of the body,” Rosol said. “The problem with chemotherapy is that the drug affects the whole body, causing a host of problems such as hair loss, diarrhea and anemia.”

Rosol and Liu conducted the study with colleagues from various academic departments at Ohio State : Andrea Levine and Mamoru Yamaguchi , both with veterinary biosciences; John Mattoon , with veterinary clinical sciences; Robert Lee , with pharmacy; and Xueliang Pan, with statistics.

This work was supported by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the National Center for Research Resources and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Nanotechnology May Find Disease Before It Starts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060424180107.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2006, April 24). Nanotechnology May Find Disease Before It Starts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060424180107.htm
Ohio State University. "Nanotechnology May Find Disease Before It Starts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060424180107.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins