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Biotech Medicine Science

Gold Nanoparticles Help Red Blood Cells Deliver Drugs 36

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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  • 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.

"It ain't over until it's over." -- Casey Stengel