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Biotech Science

New Nanoparticle Could Provide Simple Early Diagnosis Of Many Diseases 62

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the making-you-glow dept.
Researchers have created a new nanoparticle that could someday act as a virtually all-purpose diagnostic tool to detect many inflammatory diseases in their earliest stages, including heart disease, Alzheimer's, and arthritis. The specially-designed nanoparticles seek out hydrogen peroxide (thought to be overproduced in trace amounts in the early stages of most diseases that involve some sort of chronic inflammation in the body), and emit light when they encounter it.
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New Nanoparticle Could Provide Simple Early Diagnosis Of Many Diseases

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:43PM (#20294863)
    We can tell the fake blonds from the true blonds without checking the carpet!
  • so (Score:5, Funny)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:44PM (#20294871)
    if I see anyone glowing I'll avoid them. I've been doing that anyways....
  • My.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:45PM (#20294885)
    You have an unhealthy glow about you!
  • Cancer Test (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:45PM (#20294889) Journal
    1. Inject billions of nanoparticles into lungs
    2. Proclaim person has pre-cancer
    3. Be right 100% of the time.
    4. Profit!
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:46PM (#20294895) Journal
    Here are mine:

    1) Heart disease: You can't fit your lardass into an airplane seat.

    2) Alzheimer's: Grandma asks the name of the TV show three times within ten minutes.

    3) Arthritis: You're better at DDR than Guitar Hero. :-/
  • The specially-designed nanoparticles seek out hydrogen peroxide (thought to be overproduced in trace amounts in the early stages of most diseases that involve some sort of chronic inflammation in the body), and emit light when they encounter it.
    No good. I just can't see how this going to work at all for Paris Hilton.

  • "The specially-designed nanoparticles seek out hydrogen peroxide (thought to be overproduced in trace amounts in the early stages of most diseases that involve some sort of chronic inflammation in the body), and emit light when they encounter it"

    1. Invent beowulf cluster of nanoparticles that glows in presence of disease
    2. "...oh, shiney ..."
    3. PROFIT!
  • by tbischel (862773) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:08PM (#20295105)
    "Researchers have created a new nanoparticle that could someday act as a virtually all-purpose diagnostic tool to detect many inflammatory diseases..."
    We can do anything now that science has invented magic
  • Most cancers, Alzheimer's and heart disease have nothing to do with inflammation, chronic or otherwise. Arthritis does, although I have never heart of hydrogen peroxide in relationship with it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Heart disease and heart attacks certainly DO have a lot to do with inflammation. see the anti-inflammatory properties of lipitor, and see also the use of high-dose statins in the setting of acute MI. also, educate yourself on the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and the role of macrophages.
    • by kebes (861706) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:32PM (#20295397) Journal
      In the actual paper [nature.com], they mention:

      The overproduction of hydrogen peroxide is implicated in the development of numerous diseases 1-4 and there is currently great interest in developing contrast agents that can image hydrogen peroxide in vivo.
      and:

      The overproduction of hydrogen peroxide is implicated in the development of numerous inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and liver hepatitis 23-27.
      The implicated references, if you care, are:

      1. Lim, S. D. et al. Increased Nox1 and hydrogen peroxide in prostate cancer. Prostate 62, 200-207 (2005).
      2. Chang, M. C. Y., Pralle, A., Isacoff, E. Y. & Chang, C. J. A selective, cell-permeable optical probe for hydrogen peroxide in living cells. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126, 15392-15393 (2004).
      3. Miller, E.W., Albers, A. E., Pralle, A., Isacoff, E. Y. & Chang, C. J. Boronate-based fluorescent probes for imaging cellular hydrogen peroxide. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 16652-16659 (2005).
      4. Albers, A. E., Okreglak, V. S. & Chang, C. J. A FRET-based approach to ratiometric fluorescence detection of hydrogen peroxide. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 9640-9641 (2006).
      23. Polytarchou, C., Hatziapostolou, M. & Papadimitriou, E. Hydrogen peroxide stimulates proliferation and migration of human prostate cancer cells through activation of activator protein-1 and up-regulation of the heparin affin regulatory peptide gene. J. Biol. Chem. 280, 40428-40435 (2005).
      24. Laurent, A. et al. Controlling tumor growth by modulating endogenous production of reactive oxygen species. Cancer Res. 65, 948-956 (2005).
      25. Stone, J. R. & Collins, T. The role of hydrogen peroxide in endothelial proliferative responses. Endothelium-New York 9, 231-238 (2002).
      26. Mohler, D. L. & Shell, T. A. The hydrogen peroxide induced enhancement of DNA cleavage in the ambient light photolysis of CpFe(CO)(2)Ph: A potential strategy for targeting cancer cells. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 15, 4585-4588 (2005).
      27. Hirpara, J. L., Clement, M. V. & Pervaiz, S. Intracellular acidification triggered by mitochondrial-derived hydrogen peroxide is an effector mechanism for drug-induced apoptosis in tumor cells. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 514-521 (2001).
      I'm not an expert in these matters, but looking over the paper, it seems that there is considerable interest in this diagnostic technique for a variety of conditions. (The fact that it was published in a high-profile journal like Nature Materials is already a good indication.)
    • by philip_bailey (50353) on Monday August 20, 2007 @04:21PM (#20296677) Homepage

      Most cancers, Alzheimer's and heart disease have nothing to do with inflammation, chronic or otherwise.

      Actually, atheroma [wikipedia.org], the cause (in nearly all cases) of coronary artery disease, and the single commonest cause of death in the Western world, is well established to be an inflammatory process. The process of developing atheroma is influenced by a number of risk factors (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, smoking, obesity, family history); interestingly, rheumatoid arthritis is also a significant risk factor. It has even been hypothesised that various bacterial infections (which cause inflammation) may be a cause or risk factor for atherosclerosis, though studies looking at antibiotic treatment of these purported infections have not borne this out so far.

    • by m2943 (1140797)
      In fact, all of those diseases, including cancer, involve some degree of inflammation. And hydrogen peroxide is a key compound in inflammation, basically used as a general purpose "local disinfectant" by the body.
  • Could this bring about the creation of a hydrogen peroxide fueled flashlight, or area light?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kebes (861706)
      The short answer is: no.

      The paper uses well-established chemistry to generate light-emission. They basically have an ester (peroxalate) polymer with a fluorescent dye (a pentacene derivative). A chemical reaction with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) changes the peroxalate groups into dioxetanedione groups. This irreversible chemical reaction leads to excitation of the fluorescent dye, and hence light emission.

      The hydrogen peroxide is not really the energy source for the luminescence: it is more like a catalyst tha
  • by kebes (861706) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:10PM (#20295129) Journal
    The press release [gatech.edu] from Georgia Tech has a bit more information. The paper of this work will appear in the October issue of Nature Materials, but is already available online (for subscribers only, unfortunately):
    In vivo imaging of hydrogen peroxide with chemiluminescent nanoparticles [nature.com] Dongwon Lee, Sirajud Khaja, Juan C. Velasquez-Castano, Madhuri Dasari, Carrie Sun, John Petros, W. Robert Taylor & Niren Murthy. Published online: 19 August 2007; doi:10.1038/nmat1983 [doi.org]

    The paper describes the advantages of their nanoparticles:

    The peroxalate nanoparticles have several attractive properties for in vivo imaging, such as tunable wavelength emission (460-630 nm), nanomolar sensitivity for hydrogen peroxide and excellent specificity for hydrogen peroxide over other reactive oxygen species.
    In the paper, they demonstrate the use of this photo-marker in live mice, and are able to image the location of hydrogen peroxide anywhere in the mouse body. An obvious question regarding the technique is the toxicity of the nanoparticles. They do not discuss this in the paper (it will probably be the subject of an upcoming study), but the particles are ester polymers, with embedded dye (a pentacene derivative). So they are not using heavy-metal nanoparticles: these are peroxalate polymers. I'm not an expert in biocompatibility, but from the chemical structure, I wouldn't expect it to be highly toxic (it probably even degrades in the body).

    Obviously a detailed toxicity study would be required before use in humans. However it's possible that it could be rapidly adapted to ex-situ diagnostics (e.g. on tissue explants) and then be adapted to live in-situ imaging if/when it is determined to be safe.
    • In the paper, they demonstrate the use of this photo-marker in live mice, and are able to image the location of hydrogen peroxide anywhere in the mouse body.

      I see you've posted several times for this discussion, and that you've actually read the paper. As you pointed out earlier, pentacene is a fluorescent dye. However, that fact is misleading since its fluorescent properties are not utilized for this application. But what can you expect from a science blurb? They also spelled ester [wikipedia.org] as esther [wikipedia.org], so I ca

  • by Travoltus (110240) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:11PM (#20295139) Journal
    a Nanobot that blacklists certain virii and bacteria and kills them on sight.

    It should be a simple enough function and if it terminates after a few hours everything should be okay.

    That would utterly rock - no more ineffective drugs with side effects.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thyamine (531612)
      Sounds cool, except that I don't think they can perfect the no 'side-effects' part. Walk by the old leaky microwave in grandma's kitchen and suddenly all the nanobots begin to think that you are on their blacklist.

      'Oops, my arm just fell off. Better check on what the heck those nanobots are up to today.'
      • First of all, WHY WAS BLUEZHIFT MODDED DOWN??? Jeez. Corporations buy up patents and lock up competing technology all the time. Hello, electric cars?

        Thyamine:
        That's why I feel nanobot therapy should be restricted to the hospital in a safe environment where bots can't be screwed up by outside energy.

        Faylone:
        Why would this therapy damage your white blood cells?
    • by Faylone (880739)
      Yeah, please don't go trying to patent that. I rather like my white blood cells.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by blueZhift (652272)
      That would utterly rock - no more ineffective drugs with side effects.

      This of course raises the question of whether the drug companies that benefit from the current crop of drugs will stand for this. I imagine the smart ones are already working on nanoparticle based drug solutions. But truly effective drugs might not be so good for the bottom line! Nahhhh, no one would be that evil, riiiiiight?
      • by oncehour (744756)
        Well, they could always move it to a subscription model. Pay $X per month that the nano particles are in you. Wouldn't surprise me to be honest and would be perfectly profitable.
    • by Rakishi (759894) on Monday August 20, 2007 @03:03PM (#20295769)
      Bacteria and viruses evolve, very very quickly in some cases. There is a reason the immune system can't stop all infections despite it's rather interesting complexity. The worst effect is of course false positives, losing all your neurons to a confused nanobot is not a fun thing.
      • by wtansill (576643)

        Bacteria and viruses evolve, very very quickly in some cases. There is a reason the immune system can't stop all infections despite it's rather interesting complexity. The worst effect is of course false positives, losing all your neurons to a confused nanobot is not a fun thing.
        Isn't reading /. pretty much equivalent? Neuron-wise, I mean?
      • The only difference I can see between your nanobot and my immune system is that its already happening to me.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      you mean like in this Outer Limit episode?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Breed_(The_Ou ter_Limits) [wikipedia.org]
  • Not a tricorder.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NIckGorton (974753) on Monday August 20, 2007 @03:01PM (#20295741)
    Um, we can already detect inflammation. Try a technetium-111 or indium-99 labeled WBC scan.

    I doubt that this would be specific enough (and of uncertain sensitivity) to be useful. How many false positives and false negatives would you get? It might end up being helpful in situations where you are looking to diagnose a suspected disease, but something this non-specific does not seem like it would be a good screening tool.

    A few years back they were hawking full body (or if you were cheap partial body) CT scans as a screen. The brochures would show you the 38 year old mother of two whose renal cell carcinoma was detected and removed when it was 1cm in size, thus saving her life. They did not show you the guy who had a nodule detected on CT that looked suspicious, required a biopsy that caused a pneumothorax requiring a chest tube, that caused him to have a pneumonia with empyema, which caused respiratory failure, which caused him to be intubated for two weeks, needing a tracheostomy, etc.... to diagnose the totally benign lesion he had since he was born.

    I wouldn't bet on this as the medical tricorder they are making it out to be.
    • by kebes (861706)

      I doubt that this would be specific enough (and of uncertain sensitivity) to be useful.

      The paper [nature.com] goes into details of sensitivity and specificity. With regard to sensitivity they state:

      The peroxalate nanoparticles were also capable of detecting hydrogen peroxide at concentrations as low as 250nM (Fig. 2b), and thus can detect hydrogen peroxide at physiologically relevant concentrations.

      With regard to selectivity, they emphasize:

      Another appealing feature of peroxalate nanoparticles for imaging hydrogen p

      • I'm not an expert in medical imaging, but a 50-fold selectivity and nano-molar detection limit seem medical usable. No doubt other techniques for detecting inflammation already exist, but this technique may be a useful addition to the diagnostic toolbox.

        You are talking about something entirely different. When you talk about the sensitivity and specificity of a medical test that refers only to ratios of true/false positives/negatives. The sensitivity is 'of people who have the disease, how many will have a

    • by Hafnia (590482)
      You got the numbers wrong , it's Tc-99m and In-111. And the problem with CT has never been about wrong diagnoses , or bad treatment , the problem is the radiation induced cancers. CT (and any other X-ray procedure) uses ionizing radiation and WILL statistically induce cancers in a number of patients. A problem that is also present with the mentioned Nuclear Medicine isotopes. Though on a much smaller scale since the energies are smaller and more specific. This nano-thing is very interesting because you can
      • It is not CT scans that I am saying are the problem. It is indiscriminate use of diagnostic tests as screening tests. The risk of doing the wrong test is far greater than people think. And the functional characteristics of tests (the positive and negative predictive values) change with use in different populations.

        Take for example an HIV test that is 99.9% specific and 100% sensitive. That is, of 1000 positives, 999 are true positives. Sounds like a good test, right?

        Well it depends....

        Use the test
        • by Hafnia (590482)
          I don't disagree with you about the concept of screening healthy people, in most cases, it's a bad idea.
          But don't tell me somebody have been using CT for screening - was that in the US ?
          I live in Denmark where there was a minor debate a couple of years ago regarding screening mid-aged women for brest cancer. Your exact argument was the primary reason a lot of doctors opposed the idea. But even if they use X-ray for screening it's nowhere near as risky as doing full body CT. And the primary proponent of th
          • "I don't disagree with you about the concept of screening healthy people, in most cases, it's a bad idea."

            Its not that screening is a bad idea. Its that BAD screening is a bad idea. Medical screening (like for hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, alcoholism, certain types of cancer like cervical, breast, colon, domestic violence, etc) is a GREAT idea and has saved the lives of millions. However, for a test to be a valid and good screening test, it much meet some very specific criteria. The ultimate

  • hydrogen peroxide (thought to be overproduced in trace amounts in the early stages of most diseases that involve some sort of chronic inflammation in the body)

    I wouldn't say that it's "overproduced". Seems that the body creates hydrogen peroxide as a way to deal with certain problems. See The Many Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide [educate-yourself.org], or Intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy [med-library.net].

  • Sounds good. Can't wait till we invent a salt shaker that can detect the hydrogen peroxide for quick, mobile diagnosis!
  • Proctologists using the new nanoparticle will discover the sun really does shine out your ass.
  • It always glows like this. At least, after my trip to Amsterdam.

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