Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed nanotechnology that can serve as a basis for innovative medical approaches to diagnosing and delivering light-activated drug therapies for cancer patients.

The technology transforms a transparent calcite nanoparticle into a sparkling, gold-like particle. In other words, it turns the transparent particle into one that is visible, despite its very small dimensions. According to the researchers, the new material can serve as a platform for innovative cancer treatments.

The approach introduces the concept of delivering bio-friendly optical resonances, used in cancer-imaging tests, via a miniature nanoscale particle they produced.

The development opens promising prospects for various biomedical applications by enabling the use of a single designer-made nanoparticle for various clinical practices, including sensing, photothermal therapy, photoacoustic tomography, bio-imaging and targeted drug delivery.

This figure shows the 3D reconstruction of the golden vaterite and the laser-induced heating of the spherulites. Credit: Courtesy.

The scientific development was conducted by an international team of scientists, coordinated by Dr. Roman Noskov and Professor Pavel Ginzburg from the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University; Professor Dmitry Gorin from the Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech); and Dr. Evgeny Shirshin from M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Ginzburg said the “novel platform enables the accommodation of multiple functionalities as simple add-ons that can be introduced almost on demand. Along with optical imaging and thermotherapy, MRI visibility, functional biomedical materials and many other modalities can be introduced within a miniature nanoscale particle. I believe that our collaborative efforts will lead to in-vivo demonstrations, which will pave the way for new biomedical technology.”

The findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Advanced Materials.


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