18 April 2011

Micro-rockets aimed at cancer diagnosis

ChemPort.Ru based on RSC materials: Microrockets aim at cancer diagnostics

Researchers from the University of California at San Diego have obtained self-propelled microtubule rockets capable of detecting and capturing cancer cells in blood samples.

The researchers note that such "micro-rockets" can serve as effective diagnostic tools. At the same time, the studied blood samples do not require time-consuming and lengthy preliminary preparation of samples for analysis, which is usually necessary for blood analysis by other methods of microdiagnosis. Project manager Joseph Wang notes that his group has for the first time received evidence in favor of the fact that microtubule rockets can move in biological fluids.

Micro-rockets move due to fuel – hydrogen peroxide, which is added to the biological sample.

The platinum contained inside the tube catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, which ensures the movement of the conical tube due to the fact that oxygen gas exits through the widened end of the tube.

The layer of iron between the inner layer of platinum and the outer layer of gold allows you to control the movement of micro-rockets using a magnetic field.

Researchers have achieved the specificity of micro–rockets in relation to cancer cells by modifying their golden surface with antibodies to proteins usually present in some types of cancer cells - due to the high selectivity of micro-rockets, they cannot bind to healthy cells.

A similar design of microbots was first proposed by Samuel Sanchez from the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research (Dresden, Germany), and the researcher states that he is pleased with the success of another research group in developing the concept.

Researchers from California tested the work of microtubules both in saline solution and in human blood serum. Working in blood serum, micro-rockets could capture pancreatic cancer cells without losing the ability to move, moving with their "payload" with only a small loss in speed. Sanchez emphasizes that such results demonstrate as well as possible the possibility of using such self-propelled microdiagnostics devices in biomedicine.

Wong suggests that in the future, with the help of such nanosystems, it will be possible to diagnose cancer very simply – add hydrogen peroxide to a blood sample, use a magnetic field to provide several passes of the micro-rocket through the liquid, and then examine the micro-rockets with an optical microscope for the cancer cells they have captured.

Article by Sh. Balasubramanian et al. Micromachine-Enabled Capture and Isolation of Cancer Cells in Complex Media is published in Angewandte Chemie.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru18.04.2011

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