Scientists in Hong Kong are reporting synthesis and early laboratory tests of a new nanostructure that they believe may lead to the design of an anticancer nanomedicine.
In a study scheduled for publication in the Feb. 21 issue of the weekly Journal of the American Chemical Society, Bing Xu and colleagues describe the structure as an eggshell nanocrystal.
Like a chicken's egg, the structure has an outer shell that encloses a "yolk" that can be released from the shell.
In their experiments, the researchers used a yolk consisting of iron and platinum, the metal responsible for the activity of the widely used chemotherapeutic drug, cisplatin. Cultures of human cancer cells took up the nanostructures and the nanostructures released their yolks, which proved to have "exceptionally high toxicity" for the cancer cells.
"This type of yolk-shell nanostructures may lead to novel nanomedicine for treating cancers," the researchers state, describing nanostructures that may be coated with antibodies that specifically target cancer cells and thus reduce body-wide side effects that occur with traditional chemotherapeutic drugs.
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