Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanotubes Sniff Out Cancer Agents In Living Cells

Date:
December 16, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
MIT Engineers have developed carbon nanotubes into sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells.

A cell after hydrogen peroxide is added. The change in fluorescence provides a "fingerprint" that allows different molecules to be identified.
Credit: Strano Laboratory

MIT engineers have developed carbon nanotubes into sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells.

The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that damage DNA.

"We've made a sensor that can be placed in living cells, healthy or malignant, and actually detect several different classes of molecules that damage DNA," said Michael Strano, associate professor of chemical engineering and senior author of a paper on the work appearing in the Dec. 14 online edition of Nature Nanotechnology.

Such sensors could be used to monitor chemotherapy patients to ensure the drugs are effectively battling tumors. Many chemotherapy drugs are very powerful DNA disruptors and can cause serious side effects, so it is important to make sure that the drugs are reaching their intended targets.

"You could figure out not only where the drugs are, but whether a drug is active or not," said Daniel Heller, a graduate student in chemical engineering and lead author of the paper.

The sensor can detect DNA-alkylating agents, a class that includes cisplatin, and oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals.

Using the sensors, researchers can monitor living cells over an extended period of time. The sensor can pinpoint the exact location of molecules inside cells, and for one agent, hydrogen peroxide, it can detect a single molecule.

The new technology takes advantage of the fact that carbon nanotubes fluoresce in near-infrared light. Human tissue does not, which makes it easier to see the nanotubes light up.

Each nanotube is coated with DNA, which binds to DNA-damaging agents present in the cell. That interaction between the DNA and DNA disruptor changes the intensity and/or wavelength of the fluorescent light emitted by the nanotube. The agents produce different signatures that can be used to identify them.

"We can differentiate between different types of molecules depending on how they interact," Strano said.

Because they are coated in DNA, these nanotube sensors are safe for injection in living cells. (Nanotubes can come in many different lengths and can be coated with different materials, which influences whether they are safe or toxic, Strano said.)

In future studies, the researchers plan to use the sensors to study the effects of various antioxidants, such as the compounds in green tea, and learn how to more effectively use toxic chemotherapy drugs.

Other authors of the paper include MIT graduate student Hong Jin of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also contributed to the work, which was funded by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Nanotubes Sniff Out Cancer Agents In Living Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081214190951.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2008, December 16). Nanotubes Sniff Out Cancer Agents In Living Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081214190951.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Nanotubes Sniff Out Cancer Agents In Living Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081214190951.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) 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