A nanocomposite particle can be constructed so that it has a mix of properties that would not otherwise happen in nature. By combining an organic matrix with metallic clusters that can absorb light, it is possible to incorporate such particles into cells and then destroy those targeted cells with a laser.
Composite NanoDevices (CNDs), are an emerging class of hybrid nanoparticulate materials. To visualize the device, Dr. Lajos P. Balogh from Roswell Park Cancer Institute says simply think of nanoscale, dense, but soft "tumbleweed," where clusters of inorganic materials (such as silver) can be trapped inside. The CND "tumbleweed" device can be made in discrete sizes, carry different electric charges and can encapsulate different materials inside. This design offers researchers a wider choice of size, surface functionality and payload than traditional small in vivo devices where the agent is conjugated directly to the surface.
A laser can be used to kill cells indiscriminately, but it is really a blunt instrument. High powered lasers do so much damage that the tissue becomes opaque to further light. Yet, lower-powered lasers do not deliver enough energy to kill cells. By labelling cells with CNDs, light absorption can be selectively and locally enhanced wherever composite nanodevices are present. Irradiation of the mix of labelled and unlabeled cells by laser light, causes tiny bubbles to form that disrupt and damage the labelled cells, but leave unlabeled cells unaffected. This technology holds promise as an alternative therapy for cancer patients.
According to Dr. Balogh, "The DNC is a multi-functional platform. Because it can carry multiple agents inside, yet present a simple outer surface to the body, it can be programmed to deliver those agents to a particular organ or tissue."
MEDICA.de; Source: Elsevier Health Sciences