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Thursday 27th October 2016

Nanotech used in drug release

9th January 2009

Researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have invented a new way of delivering multiple drugs that involves nanotechnology.


Nanotechnology takes advantage of the different properties of matter at scales of a billionth of a meter.

The drug delivery system is based on a gold nanoparticle, and allows many different drugs to be released in a controlled fashion.

The nanoparticles were developed using tiny gold molecules that respond to light at infrared wavelengths.

After exposure to a certain wavelength of infrared light, the chemicals attached to the superficial part of the nanoparticles were released, and the gold dissolved.

The nanoparticles are capable of releasing three or four different drug payloads attached to their surfaces when they are melted.

Such a system could be useful in the future for its ability to control the quantities and release times of drugs.

The system would probably be most useful when treating a disease usually fought with multiple drugs in tandem.

Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli said a synergistic effect with more than one drug can be achieved when treating a lot of diseases, especially cancer and AIDS.

Drug delivery systems already exist that release two different drugs.

But, at present, the timing of the release must be built into the system itself, and cannot be controlled externally.

The new system provides an option controlled from outside of the body, and in theory could deliver up to three or four drugs in sequence.

The limit of drugs it delivers depends upon the fact that the nanoparticle shape will respond to three or four separate light wavelengths.

This is because the frequency of infrared light bears a direct relation to the shape of the gold particle.

Andy Wijaya said that nanoparticles of different shapes respond to different infrared wavelengths, so that by controlling the infrared wavelength, one can choose the release time for each drug.

The researchers constructed the system using two different types of nanoparticle, which they call "nanobones" and "nanocapsules."

Nanobones dissolve at infrared light wavelengths of 1,100 nanometers, while nanocapsules dissolve at frequencies of 800 nanometers.

In the study the team made a test run of nanoparticles carrying different quantities of DNA.

The particles could also be engineered to transport other types of drugs.

In theory, up to four differently shaped particles could be developed.

It is not known on what scale we have already released nanoparticles into the environment, but their use is under way, and nanoscale structures are increasingly used.


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