Technology advances are promising to produce nanomaterials that can be used for medical diagnosis and therapy.
Quantum Dot Applications in Biotechnology
The use of quantum dots for biological imaging provides researchers and clinicians new and versatile approaches to a range of biomedical challenges. The resistance to photo-bleaching, narrow emission, high energy absorption, and single source excitation all are strong reasons to make quantum dots superior fluorescence labeling agents as opposed to organic dyes. While traditional heavy metal-containing quantum dots have been explored for some time under experimental conditions in biomedical research, diagnostics, and drug discovery, the advent of heavy metal-free quantum dots opens up new horizon in the use of their unique spectral and colloidal properties for clinical applications, disease detection and therapeutics.
Biomedical applications of quantum dots may include:
- Microscopy and multiplexed histology
- Drug delivery
- Photodynamic therapy
- In vivo whole animal and clinical imaging (e.g. angiography)
- Tissue mapping and demarcation (e.g. sentinel lymph node)
- Real time detection of intracellular events, signaling, and bio-sensing
- Tracking cell migration (e.g. stem cells)
- Low cost but sensitive point-of-care detection (e.g., lateral flow)
- Environment and bio-defense
Due to their dimension, magnetic materials differ in their properties from their bulk counterparts, since at small sizes of a few nanometers they only have a single magnetic domain and in that sense they are superparamagnetic: they have high magnetic saturation when the magnetic field is on in their vicinity, yet they immediately return to zero remnant magnetization when the filed turns off, with minimal or no hysteresis. This attribute is necessary in many applications:
MRI Contrast agents for imaging:In biotechnology, magnetic beads of the order of 20 nm to many microns that consist of such nanomagnetic clusters are used as consumables in tagging and separating biological components. In MRI, clusters of nanomagnets embedded in a non-toxic polymeric matrix are necessary to enhance the resolution and/or signal to noise ratio. Higher magnetic moment nanoparticles are needed to improve the current materials used for MRI contrast.
Hyperthermia:Hyperthermia is a possible method for cancer therapy. The use of iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles for hyperthermia is based on the fact that heat will be produced under an AC magnetic field or a certain radio frequency. Target specific iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles make it possible to disperse magnetic particles throughout tumor tissue. Heat produced under an AC magnetic field of sufficient strength and frequency permeates the diseased tissue immediately surrounding the particles leading to the destruction of cancerous cells.
Antimicrobial Agents based on nanotechnology:
Irilliant is able to make the worlds smallest nanosilver particles (< 6nm) in narrow size distributions, in a continuous fashion. Silver has the unique property of being a broad antimicrobial agent and is used as a coating for some medical devices.
Tests have shown incredibly high bacteriostatic as well as bacteriocidal properties for Irilliant nanosilver.