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Biotech Medicine Science

Gold Nanoparticles Help Red Blood Cells Deliver Drugs 36

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the nanosharks-with-lasers dept.
New submitter MTorrice writes "Scientists decorated red blood cells with gold nanoparticles so they could trigger the cells to dump their contents with a zap from a laser. The laser pulses heated the particles to produce nanopores in the cells' membranes. The cells contained two fluorescent dyes and both flooded through the pores and out of the cells after the laser pulses. Although the researchers studied the release of dyes, their end goal is to use red blood cells as a vehicle for drug delivery, because the cells are naturally compatible with the immune system and circulate for days in the body. Until now, researchers have found easy ways to load the cells with drugs, but the challenge has been to control the molecules' release."
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Gold Nanoparticles Help Red Blood Cells Deliver Drugs

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  • by conner_bw (120497) on Monday April 16, 2012 @08:49PM (#39706349) Homepage Journal

    Do they accept bitcoins?

    • Do they accept bitcoins?

      What a fun thought!

    • by Billlagr (931034)
      No, but they still need to work out how to breed tiny tiny sharks with tiny tiny frickin' laser beams on their heads to inject into your bloodstream as well
  • Thank you to the tireless researcher striving to make this a better world. Your efforts have been noted, Dr. Lil Jon. I knew that grill was for health reasons.

  • Rich people (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207)
    Now you won't be able to deny that rich people get better health care. Us mere mortals won't have gold plated blood.
  • They discovered if you inject cash directly into your bloodstream that you can cure AIDS.
  • Deep Work? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) * on Monday April 16, 2012 @09:28PM (#39706577)

    It seems to me this would be best used to get drugs delivered deep within the body, such as in a tumor, without dosing the rest of the body, or even near by areas.

    But how do they get the laser there? If it were near the surface, a laser could be used. But deeper in the body, liver, brain, etc., how do you get laser light in there to cause the drug bomb to be dropped?

    Quoting TFA:

    Mario Magnani, of the University of Urbino, in Italy, calls the method novel and interesting, especially because it appears to leave the red blood cells intact. However, he sees two practical problems: Infrared light doesn’t penetrate deeply into body tissue, making many tumors difficult to access with the technique’s laser.

    Wouldn't intersecting focused microwaves [technologyreview.com] be a better approach for heating these blood cells than an infrared laser?

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      But how do they get the laser there? If it were near the surface, a laser could be used. But deeper in the body, liver, brain, etc., how do you get laser light in there to cause the drug bomb to be dropped?

      - what do you mean, how? Tiny sharks of-course!

    • Re:Deep Work? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frohboy (78614) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @05:37AM (#39708437)

      But how do they get the laser there? If it were near the surface, a laser could be used. But deeper in the body, liver, brain, etc., how do you get laser light in there to cause the drug bomb to be dropped?

      It's been a while since I studied optical therapy (before dropping out a PhD program in medical biophysics), but I'm pretty sure I remember that you can use fiber-optics. I think it's relatively "easy" (and not too invasive) to poke the patient with a fine fiber-optic cable (guided by ultrasound, I suppose) that delivers the laser light at the target site. In theory, I suppose they might be able to leave the fiber-optics in the patient for a while to deliver treatment over a few days/weeks (like a sort of "optical catheter").

      Now, I only had about four weeks of classes on optical therapy 6 years ago (as part of a course that also covered thermal and radiation therapies), so I'm only barely more qualified to write on the subject than most anonymous internet jackasses. That said, I do have a clear memory of slides from class with patients with fiber-optic cables poking into their heads or other parts of their bodies, so I remember that it can be done.

  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Monday April 16, 2012 @09:40PM (#39706655)

    When I was kid, my parents used to drive 3 hours just to ensure I got a shot. Used to go about once a year. And like the article states, my Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis did go into remission;

    http://arthritis.about.com/od/injectablegold/f/gold.htm [about.com]

    • by Jojoba86 (1496883)
      TFA is about use gold nanoparticles for delivery of any drug. What you have linked to is completely different, using the gold itself as a treatment.
      • by Kr1ll1n (579971)

        Correlation =\= Causation, maybe?

        I'll admit, I have yet to RTFA, but Gold itself is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, so who is to say it isn't the reason they are experiencing gains using it as an assisted delivery mechanism....

        • by Jojoba86 (1496883)
          In the time taken to reply to me you could have found the relevant bit in the article and understood what they have claimed to achieved...
  • My favorite barten^h^h^h^h^h^htherapist always used to say that Goldschläger worked wonders. Now I know why.

  • Release drugs by a laser shot? It usually takes a handgun or cash for me to release my drugs....

  • by phrackthat (2602661) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:07AM (#39707677)

    their end goal is to use red blood cells as a vehicle for drug delivery

    Now they'll have probable cause if the K9's detect that you have red blood cells.

    - sarcasm off.

    In all seriousness, gold nano particles are being explored medically in some pretty freakin' cool ways - to kill cancer by heating the gold with light [eurekalert.org], kill cancer by heating the gold radio waves in places where light can't reach [nih.gov] and targetted delivery of chemotherapy. [nih.gov]

  • by Robert Zenz (1680268) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:44AM (#39708001) Homepage
    "Just sit and wait here, Mr. Bond, while I fiahrm...start the Therapy-Laser."
  • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @04:16AM (#39708245)
    "W have found a cure for aids! All you have to do is inject $100,000 directly into your bloodstream"
  • By crossing two or more electromagnetic beams, each of which is of insufficient strength to stimulate the reaction,can one focus the drug's release at the point where they intersect if the combined energy exceeds the required threshold?

  • This is really cool! My family and I just learned about this from a researcher at the Cincinnati Museum a week ago. They were holding their "Nano Days" event, and this was one of the booths. It turns out that a solution containing gold nano particles in a small enough amount is actually red. She explained the same concepts used in the article, and how gold nano particles can be used to target cancer cells, bind to them, and release a dose of cancel-killing drugs (similar to current chemotherapy) with a

  • Darn it! I came here for the Xzibit jokes and all I got was Goldschläger references. I'm very disappointed /.

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