Nanoparticles are a thousand times smaller than a human hair.
Illustration by Stephanie King, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Nanoparticles have contributed to profound medical advances like the COVID-19 vaccine, but without oversight, they pose ethical and environmental issues.
Identifying the commonalities between cardiovascular disease and cancer could lead to improved treatments for both.
Sveta Zi/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Cardiovascular disease and cancer share many parallels in their origins and how they develop. Nanoparticles offer one potential way to effectively treat both with reduced side effects.
Nanoparticles (white disks) can be used to deliver treatment to cells (blue).
Brenda Melendez and Rita Serda/National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
The proteins that cover nanoparticles are essential to understanding how they work in the body. Across 17 proteomics facilities in the US, less than 2% of the identified proteins were identical.
Jan Askeit / Wikimedia
Tellurium is a critical mineral for renewable energy – but little is known about its environmental effects and how it circulates in the wild.
When sugarcane bagasse is burned, the ash contains silica. The race is on to extract this for various uses.
There are ‘jewels’ among the piles of ash that remain once sugarcane’s fibrous material is burned.
New remedies are needed as rates of multi-drug resistant TB rise.
As antibiotics lose their power to treat some forms of TB, interest in the antibacterial powers of curdlan is rising.
Nanoparticles can help cancer drugs home in on tumors and avoid damaging healthy cells.
Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines put nanomedicine in the spotlight as a potential way to treat diseases like cancer and HIV. While the field isn’t there yet, better design could help fulfill its promise.
We interact with nanoparticles in multiple ways every day. The nanoparticles in this illustration are delivering drugs to cells.
Some vaccine hesitancy is based on a fear of the nanoparticles used in mRNA vaccines. But humans have been interacting with nanoparticles for millennia, and we use nanotechnology-based devices every day.
The limiting factor in cancer radiotherapy is that doses high enough to try to cure tumours also damage surrounding normal tissues.
Higher doses of radiotherapy for cancer treatment destroy more healthy tissue as well as more tumour cells. Gold nanoparticles sensitize tumours to radiation, making treatment more effective.
Red quantum dots glow inside a rat brain cell.
Nanoscale Advances, 2019, 1, 3424 - 3442
These tiny nanoparticles might provide a new way to see what’s happening in the brain and even deliver treatments to specific cells – if researchers figure out how to use them safely and effectively.
Nanoparticles occur naturally in some foods, and others have them added.
Nanoparticles are extremely tiny particles, with external dimensions smaller than 100 nanometres (0.0001 of a millimetre). Here’s what we know about nanotechnology in food.
A PhD student in chemistry addresses some of the most common misconceptions about chemistry.
Magnetotactic bacteria owe their special property to the magnetic nanoparticles they contain.
These single-celled organisms naturally respond to the Earth’s weak magnetic field. Scientists are untangling how it all works, looking to future biomedical and other engineering applications.
Nanomedicine could scupper the need for TB patients to take multiple daily tablets with toxic side effects.
The reason that nanoparticles hold such hope for TB treatment is that they can be carefully targeted.
There are countless nanoscopic architectures in nature, creating iridescence, sticky feet, magnetic navigation – and more.
Section of a tumor observed with an optical microscope. The two white forms with brown borders are blood vessels. Inside, gold nanoparticles accumulate against their walls.
Mariana Varna-Pannerec (ESPCI)
Gold can be used to make jewelry, but also to fight cancer. Several clinical trials are currently underway in the United States where patients are being treated with gold nanoparticles.
The colour of gold nanoparticles in suspension varies according to the size of the nanoparticles.
Nanotechnology brings together multiple science disciplines to create devices that mimic the refinements of nature. It’s difficult – and exhilarating.
Subbing new risks for the current dyes’ dangers?
Less-toxic hair dye would be a great invention. But discounting the risks that come with nanoparticles could undermine other efforts to protect human health and environmental from their effects.
Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy.
Invitation image created by Kstudio
One big challenge for gene therapies is delivering DNA or RNA safely to cells inside patients’ bodies. New nanoparticles could be an improvement over the current standard – repurposed viruses.
New ways to prepare and test nanoengineered particles are helping us understand how they can target diseases.
The more we learn about bio-nano science, the easier it will be to design nanoparticles that behave like we want them to.