Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Remote-control Closed System Invented For Inserting Radio-active Atoms Inside Fullerenes

Date:
July 11, 2009
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
A hands-off process for filling fullerenes with radioactive material is being tested to see if it will produce multi-modality material for better imaging and targeting of treatment of brain tumors.

Lead rods, which are infused with the material to be encapsulated in hollow carbon molecules known as fullerenes, are blasted with a plasma arc. The resulting soot contains the filled carbon molecules. The remote-control process was invented to insert radio-labeled materials into fullerenes for use in diagnosing and treating tumors. Brain tumors are the target of the NIH-funded research being carried out by a Virginia Tech-Virginia Commonwealth University team.
Credit: Harry Dorn

Virginia Tech chemistry Professor Harry C. Dorn, Emory and Henry College chemistry Professor James Duchamp, and Panos Fatouros, professor and chair of the Division of Radiation Physics and Biology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine have co-invented a hands-off process for filling fullerenes with radio-active material.

Related Articles


Fullerenes are hollow carbon molecules. Dorn has created new materials by filling them with atoms of various metals. An important example is a fullerene that encases a sensitive contrast agent (gadolinium) for MRI applications, including as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for brain tumors. Dorn and Fatouros at VCU have funding from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI) to further develop, produce, and test fullerene nanoparticles that can identify brain tumor cells and selectively target them for radiation therapy.

What if the radioactive material could also be encased in a carbon cage? Dorn asked himself several years ago. With more funding from NCI and Virginia's Commonwealth Technology Research Fund (CTRF), he set out to do it.

Now Dorn and Duchamp have invented a generator that makes the new material by remote control. "The new materials come out the bottom like a beer product," Dorn said. The golden liquid is not dispensed into an open cup, of course.

Basically, rods about three times the size of a pencil lead that are made up of graphite and lutetium (Lu) are inserted into big jar through a tube on one side and moved slowly toward a source of electricity on the other side. The jolted rod burns dramatically and the inside of the jar is coated with ash. A nozzle kind of like a miniature carwash wand is lowered from the top to rinse the soot to the bottom and out through a filter. The soot is trapped and the resulting beer-colored solution contains Lu atoms bound to nitrogen inside of fullerenes. This radiolabeled nanomaterial is then further purified by passage through a column that traps the empty-cage fullerenes. The resulting liquid is evaporated and hydroxyl atoms are attached to the molecules so they will be soluble in biofluids.

All of the steps of the process are managed remotely and the purified product is decanted into a shielded container.

Dorn and Duchamp have used non-radioactive Lu to produce the trimetallic nitride endohedral metallofullerenes (Lu3N@C80) – in other words, three atoms of Lu attached to a nitrogen atom inside an 80-atom carbon molecule cage. Once the apparatus is at VCU, Fatouros will use isotope 177Lu, which is used to treat cancer. Although other details need to be worked out, Dorn is confident the generator will work just as well with the radiolabeled product and will produce (177Lu3N@C80).

It all takes less than a day, which is important because 177Lu has a half life of six and one-half days. "So we can't take 30 days to make the product," said Duchamp.

It will be the first time that 177Lu has been encapsulated in a fullerene and the first time any radioactive metal has been encapsulated under remote control with direct purification to a pure product.

"The advantage of the metal cage is we can control where it goes biologically," Dorn said.

"We believe it will mean fewer side effects with better targeted localization, but that remains to be tested," said Fatouros.

"Another advantage is we can deliver other materials inside the fullerene with the 177Lu – such as a targeting agent (interleukin-13) and an MRI contrast agent," said Dorn.

Creation of such a multi-modality material for use on brain tumors is a specific goal of Fatouros and Dorn's NCI-funded research project, "Metallofullerene imaging and targeting of glioma." "The MRI agent lets you see where you are going and the 177Lu lets you treat an exact region," said Dorn. "The imaging ability also lets you see if the tumor is shrinking or getting larger."

An earlier stage of the research was presented at the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer Investigators Meeting in September 2008 and a patent application has been filed.

Dorn points out that the new device will also allow the production of other kinds of radio-labeled fullerenes that can be used for environmental studies, such as to track fullerene nanomaterials.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Remote-control Closed System Invented For Inserting Radio-active Atoms Inside Fullerenes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707161428.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2009, July 11). Remote-control Closed System Invented For Inserting Radio-active Atoms Inside Fullerenes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707161428.htm
Virginia Tech. "Remote-control Closed System Invented For Inserting Radio-active Atoms Inside Fullerenes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707161428.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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