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Research explores interactions between nanomaterials, biological systems
Date:6/19/2009

h as drug-delivering nanoparticles."

The review article spotlighted several important research advancements:

  • A classification of the interactions when nanomaterials contact and bind to biological systems will help scientists understand how man-made materials may react when exposed to cells, tissues and various life forms in different natural environmental contexts.

  • When nanomaterials enter a biological fluid for example, blood, plasma or interstitial fluid the materials' surface may be coated with proteins. Understanding how these protein layers change the properties of the nanomaterials and the ways in which they interact in the body can provide valuable information on how to alter the protein coatings to allow for targeted delivery of nanomaterials to specific tissues, such as in cancer treatments.

  • Physicochemical properties such as size, charge, shape and other characteristics could greatly affect the ability of nanomaterials to enter a cell; this could determine whether a material can be useful in nanomedicine applications or could cause harm if taken in by life forms in an ecosystem or food chain.

  • Nanoparticles can elicit a wide range of intracellular responses, depending on their properties, concentrations and interactions with biological molecules. These properties and their relationships to cellular function can induce cellular damage or induce advantageous cellular responses, such as increased energy production and growth.

Based on the link between certain nanomaterial properties and potential toxic effects, the team asserts that scientists can reengineer specific nanomaterial properties that are hazardous while maintaining catalytically useful function for industrial use.

As an example of a safe design feature, some nanoparticles now receive a surface coating designed to improve safety by preventing bioreactivity. Nanoparticles in cosmetic formulation
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Contact: Jennifer Marcus
jmarcus@cnsi.ucla.edu
310-267-4839
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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