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7/19/2008 4:20:17 PM
Nanocantilevers Image Nanoparticles in Cells

Borrowing from a Nobel Prize winner's technique credited with starting the nanotechnology revolution, a team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Northwestern University’s Nanomaterials for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapeutics has developed a method for imaging nanoparticles inside of cells. This technique should prove useful for studies of nanomaterials toxicology as well as those designed to improve nanoparticle-based drug delivery. This work has been published online in advance of print publication in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Ali Passian, Ph.D., and his colleagues at ORNL teamed with a research group headed by Vinayak Dravid, Ph.D., at Northwestern to probe the fate of individual nanoparticles inside of cells. Dravid and colleague Gajendra Shekhawat, Ph.D., had earlier developed a modified form of atomic force microscopy, the Nobel Prize winner's invention, that uses nanoscale cantilevers as ultrasonic probes that can create a holographic image of a rapidly vibrating soft object lying beneath the cantilever as it scans that object. This new form of nanometer-resolution microscopy is known as scanning near-field ultrasonic holography, or SNFUH, and Dravid’s research group has used it to generate detailed three-dimensional maps of soft objects.

Making use of SNFUH, Passian and his collaborators examined various cells taken from mice a week after the animals had been exposed to aerosolized nanoparticles known as single-walled carbon nanohorns, which are closely related to carbon nanotubes. Images of lung macrophages clearly revealed the exact location of individual nanohorns within the cells. The researchers also imaged nanohorns present inside red blood cells taken from the bloodstream, demonstrating that the nanohorns escape the lung and enter the circulatory system.

This work is detailed in the paper “Imaging Nanoparticles in Cells by Nanomechanical Holography.” An abstract of this paper is available at the journal’s Web site.

View abstract.

Other Headlines from NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer ...
 - Tekmira and the National Cancer Institute Publish Promising Data Demonstrating the Anti-Tumor Activity of a Novel Cancer Target
 - NCI Awards $1.7 Million to Cancer Specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
 - Nanoparticles Enhance Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells
 - Hand-held NMR Instrument Yields Rapid Analysis of Human Tumors
 - Biodegradable Biopolymer Nanoparticles Hold Promise for Twin Attack on Breast Cancer

Other Headlines from Northwestern University ...
 - Northwestern University Purchases NanoInk's NLP 2000 Desktop NanoFabrication System
 - New Switching Device Could Help Build Ultrafast Quantum Internet
 - Tiny Gems Take Big Step in Battling Cancer
 - Method prints nanostructures using hard, sharp 'pen' tips floating on soft polymer springs
 - Nanowires Exhibit Giant Piezoelectricity

Other Headlines from Oak Ridge National Laboratory ...
 - First-ever sub-nanoscale snapshots of renegade protein in Huntington's Disease
 - ORNL energy harvesters transform waste into electricity
 - Nature still sets standard for nanoscience revolution
 - Neutron analysis yields insight into bacteria for solar energy
 - A hidden magnetic configuration in manganite thin films

More Nanoparticles Headlines ...
 - UI study: Carbon black nanoparticles activate immune cells, causing cell death
 - Nanoparticles help scientists harvest light with solar fuels
 - Non-toxic nanoparticles may someday be used to fight cancer
 - 'DNAsomes' can deliver multiple drugs or genetic therapy
 - Building From the Ground Up, Researchers Construct RNA Nanoparticles to Safely Deliver Long-Lasting Therapy to Cells

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