Highly specific fluorescent nanoparticles could enable personalized medicine

Dec. 5, 2014
Scientists have produced highly specific fluorescent nanoparticles that, with near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye, can be guided to the liver or kidney and deliver their payload of active ingredients directly to the targeted tissue.

Scientists at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU Jena; Germany) and colleagues have produced highly specific fluorescent nanoparticles that, with near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye, can be guided to the liver or kidney and deliver their payload of active ingredients directly to the targeted tissue. Also, they enable tracking of the transport processes by intravital microscopy or, in a noninvasive way, by multispectral optoacoustic tomography.

Related: NIR light-activated biomarker detects tumor cells, delivers drugs

Reduction of cholesterol production induced by small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) served as the proof of principle for the scientists' work. The nanoparticles are based on polymers and marked with NIR fluorescent dyes and loaded with siRNA.

Highly specific nanoparticles that were produced at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. (Photo courtesy of Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU Jena)

"Depending on the chemical structure of the dye, the particles are filtered out of the blood either via the kidney tissue or via liver cells. At the same time, this route can easily be tracked by optical methods with the aid of the dyes," describes intensive care physician Prof. Dr. Michael Bauer. His research team was also able to show that the dye is specifically absorbed by a specific cellular transporter of the liver epithelial cells and taken up into the cells.

In this way, the siRNA load is exclusively released in the target cells. The specifically functionalized nano-containers have been designed and produced in the laboratories of the Jena Center for Soft Matter (JCSM) of FSU Jena.

"This method can be regarded as a kind of toolbox for a multitude of different siRNA-nanotransporters, which can ensure the targeted 'switch-off' of specific protein biosynthesis in different cell types," states Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert, director of the JCSM.

Schematic of a nanoparticle loaded with a drug in the core (purple) and a specific dye marker at the surface of the particle (blue dots). (Image courtesy of JCSM/SmartDyeLivery GmbH)

With the possibility to test the non-coupled dyes in advance and to switch off genes that are associated with illnesses, the principle offers new approaches to personalized medicine. In the newly founded SmartDyeLivery GmbH, the scientists want to further develop the technology to put it into practical use in the clinical environment, especially in cases of acute septic infections.

In their study, the researchers loaded the nanoparticles with targeting dyes attached with siRNA-molecules. The siRNA molecules interfered with cholesterol production in hepatocytes, which resulted a clear reduction in the cholesterol level in the blood of test animals.

Full details of the work appear in the journal Nature Communications; for more information, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6565.

-----

Follow us on Twitter, 'like' us on Facebook, connect with us on Google+, and join our group on LinkedIn

Subscribe now to BioOptics World magazine; it's free!

About the Author

BioOptics World Editors

We edited the content of this article, which was contributed by outside sources, to fit our style and substance requirements. (Editor’s Note: BioOptics World has folded as a brand and is now part of Laser Focus World, effective in 2022.)

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Precision Motion Control for Sample Manipulation in Ultra-High Resolution Tomography

April 10, 2024
Learn the critical items that designers and engineers must consider when attempting to achieve reliable ultra-high resolution tomography results here!

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!