Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials U.S. Department of Energy

A High-Performance Nano-Bio Photocatalyst for
Targeted Brain Cancer Therapy

Nano-Bio Photocatalyst for Targeted Brain Cancer TherapyScientists from the CNM's Nanobio Interfaces Group and the University of Chicago's Brain Tumor Center have developed a way to target brain cancer cells by using titanium dioxide nanoparticles bonded to biological molecules. The new therapy relies on a two-pronged approach. Titanium dioxide is a versatile photoreactive nanomaterial that can be bonded with biomolecules. When linked to an antibody, nanoparticles recognize and bind specifically to cancer cells. Focused visible light is shined onto the affected region, and the localized titanium dioxide reacts to the light by creating free oxygen radicals that interact with the mitochondria in the cancer cells. Mitochondria act as cellular energy plants, and when free radicals interfere with their biochemical pathways, mitochondria receive a signal to start cell death. X-ray fluorescence microscopy done at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source also showed that the tumors' invadopodia, actin-rich micron-scale protrusions that allow the cancer to invade surrounding healthy cells, can be attacked by the titanium dioxide. (More>>)

This work has been published in Nano Letters and is available online.

August 2009

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