Nanotech methods offer a variety of ways to alter the properties of nanostructures to optimize drug delivery. A process that allows the fabrication of different shapes of particles varying in size from about 100 nm to several micrometers demonstrates that long particles are internalized by cancer cells more efficiently than are round particles. From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (credit PhysOrg.com) “UNC study: shape, not just size, impacts effectiveness of emerging nano-medicine therapies“:
In the budding field of nanotechnology, scientists already know that size does matter.
But now, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that shape matters even more — a finding that could lead to new and more effective methods for treating cancer and other diseases, from diabetes and multiple sclerosis to arthritis and obesity.
A team of researchers led by Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, and Stephanie Gratton, a graduate student in DeSimone’s lab, have demonstrated that nanoparticles designed with a specific shape, size and surface chemistry are taken up into cells and behave differently within cells depending on these attributes.
Their findings appear in this week’s online early edition of the journal PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [abstract].
…Using PRINT® (Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates) technology — a technique invented in DeSimone’s lab that allows scientists to design and produce “custom-made” nanoparticles — the UNC researchers made particles with specific shapes, sizes and surface charges. DeSimone said the aim is to optimize particle attributes for specific therapeutic objectives.
“This would mean that we could deliver lower dosages of drugs to specific cells and tissues in the body and actually be more effective in treating the cancer,” said DeSimone, who is also a member of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the co-principal investigator for the Carolina Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.
…the scientists discovered that long, rod-shaped particles (diameter, 150 nanometers; height, 450 nanometers) were internalized by cells approximately four times faster than lower aspect ratio particles (diameter, 200 nanometers; height, 200 nanometers), and traveled significantly further into the cells as well.