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Gold Nanoparticles Help Red Blood Cells Deliver Drugs

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the nanosharks-with-lasers dept.

Biotech 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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36 comments

Deliver drugs? (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | about 2 years ago | (#39706349)

Do they accept bitcoins?

Re:Deliver drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39707387)

So that's why the local dealer is wearing this huge gold chain!

Re:Deliver drugs? (1)

Billlagr (931034) | about 2 years ago | (#39707687)

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

Goldschlager joke! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39706381)

Goldschlager joke!

Sorry I haven't thought of it yet but I just gotta be frist.

restraining prisoners (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39706415)

Load them up with lethal red blood cells each week. Go out in the sunshine and you die.

Re:restraining prisoners (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#39706639)

Interesting, but not at all. Sunshine wouldn't warm the particles enough to perforate the cell. Secondly, and more importantly, if you suddenly dumped a lethal load of drugs inside red blood cells, the person would die 100-120 days later when the lifecycle of those blood cells came to an end. The only way to do what you suggest would be to keep inserting a small quantity daily, so that no single subset of red cells would cause a lethal dose when the cells expire, but allowed for a trigger to release them all at once. Guess that sort of makes your idea really un-workable.

Let me be the first to say, (2)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about 2 years ago | (#39706451)

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 (1, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#39706515)

Now you won't be able to deny that rich people get better health care. Us mere mortals won't have gold plated blood.

Re:Rich people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39706615)

Ah, but anyone can have gold. Just visit a gold bearing creek with a gold pan in hand.

dinner theater in manhattan, major general mayhem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39706561)

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pinkladies

http://www.livestream.com/occupyunity

http://www.ustream.tv/occupiedair

wild westerners is an understatement

This compliments the Southpark research. (2)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 2 years ago | (#39706573)

They discovered if you inject cash directly into your bloodstream that you can cure AIDS.

Deep Work? (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Deep Work? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#39708071)

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? (4, Insightful)

Frohboy (78614) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

And my insurance will cover this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39706621)

And my insurance will cover this? Asking if your insurance will cover some new treatment is like asking (a good while back) if a machine would play Crysis or (even further back) if it would run Linux. In case you were wondering, the answer was usually "no".

Barman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39706651)

One Goldschlager please.

Old tech is OLD...... (2)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | about 2 years ago | (#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]

Re:Old tech is OLD...... (1)

Jojoba86 (1496883) | about 2 years ago | (#39708403)

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.

Re:Old tech is OLD...... (1)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | about 2 years ago | (#39711815)

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....

Re:Old tech is OLD...... (1)

Jojoba86 (1496883) | about 2 years ago | (#39712039)

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...

Who knew? (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 2 years ago | (#39706805)

My favorite barten^h^h^h^h^h^htherapist always used to say that Goldschläger worked wonders. Now I know why.

Monster Brand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39707073)

Now available at your local Best Buy (unless it closed down).

Why gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39707263)

Every time I see an article about nanoparticles used in medicine it is always gold. What makes this material particularly suited? Are there other nanoparticle materials used in medical research?

Re:Why gold? (2)

hsalstond (2614997) | about 2 years ago | (#39708601)

It's easier to make/process, use and analyze nanoparticles of gold than anything else, so it's the best characterized material. It's easiest to process and analyze because it's heavy and inert. And then for medical uses it's key that gold tends to remain nontoxic in any particle size/shape unlike most other nontoxic metals. Silver is not as good about being totally nontoxic in any formulation like gold, though interestingly sizing of silver nanoparticles show deposition in different tissues based on size (so the nanoparticles could do the targeting by virtue of their size/shape).

Gold in treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39707521)

Elemental gold used to be used to aid in the delivery of anti-arthritic drugs. Obvious to the lab clinician due to the induced poikilocytosis.

More fodder for the WOD (3, Interesting)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 2 years ago | (#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]

They say Tywin Lannister shits gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39708689)

Now we can do the same!

Intersecting beams (1)

lowy (91366) | about 2 years ago | (#39708777)

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?

Interesting! (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | about 2 years ago | (#39709131)

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 laser and/or heat dose. Our 10-year old daughter thought it was quite awesome.

Yo dawg... (1)

Specter (11099) | about 2 years ago | (#39709861)

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

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