Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanoscale Droplets With Cancer-fighting Implications Created

Date:
September 10, 2008
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Scientists have succeeded in making unique nanoscale droplets that are much smaller than a human cell and can potentially be used to deliver pharmaceuticals.

UCLA scientists have succeeded in making unique nanoscale droplets that are much smaller than a human cell and can potentially be used to deliver pharmaceuticals.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles

UCLA scientists have succeeded in making unique nanoscale droplets that are much smaller than a humancell and canpotentially be used to deliver pharmaceuticals.

"What we found that was unexpected was within each oil droplet there was also a water droplet — a double emulsion," said Timothy Deming, professor and chair of the UCLA Department of Bioengineering anda member of both the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLAand UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center. "We have a water droplet inside of an oil droplet, in water."

"The big challenge," Deming added, "was to make these molecules in the sub-100-nanometer size range with these properties and have them be stable. We have demonstrated we can make these emulsions that are stable in this size range, which no one has ever been able to do before. These double nanoemulsions are generally hard to form and very unstable, but ours are very stable."

Emulsions are droplets of one liquid in another liquid; the two liquids do not mix.

"This gives us a new tool, a new material, for drug delivery and anticancer applications," said Thomas G. Mason, a UCLA associate professor of chemistry and physics who has been leading research on nanoemulsions since he joined UCLA five years ago. Mason, who holds UCLA's John McTague Career Development Chair,is also a member of the CNSI.

Deming and Mason have made nanoemulsions containing billions of double nanodroplets. Their research, reportingon droplets smaller than 100 nanometers —the world's smallest double emulsions —appears in the Sept. 4edition of the journal Nature and is currently online.

"If we have water-soluble drugs, we can load them inside," Deming said. "If we have water-insoluble drugs, we can load them inside as well. We can deliver them simultaneously."

"Here, you effectively combine both types of drug molecules in the same delivery package," Mason said. "This approach could be used for a combination therapy where you want to deliver two drugs simultaneously at a fixed ratio into the same location."

It might be possible to insert a pharmaceutical inside a droplet and inject the droplet inside a cell, the scientists said. Could these dropletsrelease their cargo inside a cell?

"We're working on it," said Deming, who designs and engineers molecules. "There's a pretty clear path on how to do that. There are still challenges for drug delivery, but we have demonstrated the key first step, that we can make these double emulsions that are stable in this size range."

The cargo could be a protein toxin that helps to kill the cell. For example, one approach mightinvolve an anticancer drug in the oil and a toxin-protein in the water— two molecules trying to kill the cell simultaneously. While a cell can develop resistance to a single drug, the combination approach can be more effective, the scientists said.

Deming and Mason caution that while this approach holds promise for fighting cancer, there are still many steps, and likely many years of research, before patients could be treated in this way. Clinical trials using this research wouldprobably be years off.

"We'll have to do a lot of fine-tuning, but this approach has a lot of advantages," Deming said. "The size of these is a big advantage. We have discovered unique molecular features that can stabilize double emulsions. These are promising, but it's early on, and there are many ways these can fail. But we should at least learn how to make better drug-delivery vehicles."

In future research, Deming and Mason want to make sure the droplets can harmlessly enter cells and release their cargo.

The nanodroplets could potentially be used in cosmetics, soaps and shampoos as well.

Deming's laboratory is trying to take some of the key features that make proteins special and put them into synthetic materials.

"Tim has these beautiful molecules that he can design and customize," Mason said.

Deming saw Mason give a UCLA talk about simple nanoemulsionsin whichMason was coating nanoscale oil droplets in water using natural proteins; the twoagreed to try to combine the advantages of their materials, and their collaboration was born. Both scientists said working together has been "fantastic."

Emulsions are a way of taking an oil, which doesn't mix with water, and putting it in a water-friendly environment, where, dispersed as droplets, it behaves like a fluid. Emulsions have complex properties and are found in many products, including foods, plastics, cosmetics, oil and paints.

"In the emerging field of nanoemulsions, this research is a big step," Mason said.

As a graduate student at Princeton Universityin the early 1990s, Mason founded a field called thermal microrheology that is now used by scientists worldwide. Microrheology is a method for examining theviscosity and elasticity of soft materials, including liquids and emulsions, on a microscopic scale.

Co-authors on the Nature paper are lead author Jarrod A. Hanson, a UCLA graduate student in Deming's laboratory; Connie B. Chang and Sara M. Graves,bothgraduate students in Mason's laboratory; and Zhibo Li, a postdoctoral scholar in Deming's laboratory. Deming received a grant from the international Human Frontiers of Science program to support Hanson's research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Nanoscale Droplets With Cancer-fighting Implications Created." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903134407.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2008, September 10). Nanoscale Droplets With Cancer-fighting Implications Created. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903134407.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Nanoscale Droplets With Cancer-fighting Implications Created." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903134407.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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