Today various nano-substances, created for medical purposes, attract attention of many medics, biologists and physicists. Studies of magnetically controlled precise drug delivery by means of magnetic nanoparticles are of specific interest to scientific and medical community.
Russian physicists, working in the biophotonics laboratory of the Institute of General Physics (Russian academy of sciences), have some advances in this field, about which I will try to tell in this article. The term biophotonics denotes a combination of biology and photonics, with photonics being the science and technology of generation, manipulation, and detection of photons, quantum units of light.
The main idea of precise drug delivery is that nanocapsules, containing drugs and magnetic particles, enter bloodstream and head for a certain organ or living organism’s tissues by means of magnetic field. When nanocapsules reach their target, they can open and release treating agent by means of, for instance, being heated with high-frequency alternating field. However, further development of described technique faced a problem – there was no cheap and convenient technique for counting magnetic particles, while they were inside a living organism.
Russian physicists do their best to solve this problem, and they have some encouraging results. Scientists developed a new noninvasive technique of quantitative detection of magnetic nanoparticles directly in a living organism by means of external scanning spot. Results of the research were reported during III Eurasian congress of medical physics and engineering, which recently took place in Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.
New technique, created by Russian physicists, doesn’t require any blood samples and allows observing particles from outside an organism, thus providing no interference into particle pharmacokinetics.
In order to detect magnetic particles, scientists from biophotonics laboratory have built a small prototype of a scanning spot for testing it on laboratory animals – rats. Iron nanoparticles were injected into rat’s blood, and then researchers put rat’s tail into recorder’s coil for scanning. The recorder showed researchers in real time how particles were distributed in various organs and how many of them were there. Later on scientists plan to improve their technique and to build a tomography scanner for high-precision and quantitative mapping of magnetic nanoparticles in human organism.
This technology will be very useful for preclinical trials of various treating agents, based upon magnetic nanoparticles; moreover, it can unveil some fundamental patterns of how nano-sized and micro-sized particles behave in living organisms.
Source: Science & Technologies