Nanotechnology offers efficient solutions for virtually all areas of science and technology spanning from solar cells to medicine. Owing to rapid development of synthesis and nanofabrication methods we are able to engineer advanced materials at atomic and molecular scale and assemble them into practical devices. Integration of inorganic nanoparticles with soft and biological materials results in one of promising types of hybrids for advancing medical technologies.
TiO2 nanoparticles with their extraordinary stability, exceptional photoreactivity and biocompatibility have a special place in biomedical solutions of the future. Reconstructed surfaces of TiO2 nanoparticles differ from the bulk by the presence of highly reactive under-coordinated surface that can be used as a conduit to electroactive biomolecules such as peptides or proteins. We have utilized monoclonal anti-EGFR antibodies (C225) for targeting nanoparticles to the epithelial colon cancer cells. Photoinduced charge separation was than employed to create reactive oxygen species and induce apoptosis in the tumor cells. “Cold light,” or bioluminescence, the same property exhibited by fireflies, was used to develop localized therapy that is activated only in the cancers, leaving healthy cells intact.
Magnetic nanomaterials are attractive for the future medicine since they can be detected and manipulated remotely using external magnetic fields that allows for less invasive therapeutic and diagnostic methods. Magnetic nanomaterials were proposed for drug delivery, cell sorting, magnetofection, tumor targeting, magnetic hyperthermia and as MRI contrast agents. We have been developing lithographically defined ferromagnets which can be potentially employed for biomedical applications in both low- and high frequency magnetic field regimes as mediators of biological mechanotrasduction, as delivery vehicles and also as contrast agents. Other group of engineered magnetic hybrids can be obtained through synthetic chemistry routs. These particles can be assembled with polymers, loaded with a drug or dye molecules and linked with biological targeting entities. We demonstrated applicability of such magnetic hybrids in heat and chemotherapy cargo delivery specifically to cancer site.
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