Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Nanoshells and Puppy-dog Tails...

...that's what little boys are made of.

The world of the small is becoming increasingly fascinating. Some researchers are developing what they call "Nanoshells". Essentially consisting of nano-sized silica coated with gold, these small particles can be fine tuned to scatter and absorb light at particular frequencies. Plus, because they are gold, they tend to be very biocompatible.

In a nutshell, or nanoshell if you prefer, these extraordinary particles can be coupled with cancer targeting molecules. Once adhered to the cancer, they can be illuminated with particular frequencies of light. Then a doctor can decide if the region is cancerous and should be annihilated. Then light of near infrared (NIR) can be used to induce the particles to heat up, thereby killing the cancer. NIR is cool because it has the most tissue penetration with least tissue damage. Only the nanoshells heat up in the light because they will be designed to absorb light at that particular frequency. This is a very noninvasive idea that could be used to avoid chemotherapy or radiation.

Sounds like fun. Hope it works out for them.


At 8:52 PM, Blogger Maine Man said...

Yeah, I read about this in Popular Science a year or so ago. It sounds pretty cool. How close is this to going main stream?


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