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Innovative nanoparticle purification system uses magnetic fields
Date:9/6/2011

purification with our method because these nanoparticles are a bit more magnetic. They stick along the walls of the capillary tubes more easily, while more magnetically weak particles flow out."

The new purification and separation method has many applications, especially within the fields of medicine and diagnostics. For example, nanoparticles could be used in lieu of contrast dye when patients undergo MRI imaging studies. Such particles could be used to track where a drug is traveling in the human body. "Some patients are allergic to traditional contrast dyes, so nanoparticles offer a promising alternative," Williams said.

Williams also explained that one of the very futuristic dreams of nanoparticle research is that it one day may be used to improve cancer-fighting drugs. "Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs don't discriminate: They attack healthy tissue, as well as cancerous tissue," Williams said. "If we could use nanoparticle technology to manipulate exactly where the drugs are going, which tissue they attack, and which they leave alone, we could greatly reduce some of the bad side effects of chemotherapy, such as hair loss and nausea. But to do this we need to be able to separate out nanoparticle impurities to make them safe for medical use. That's where this new technology comes in."

In addition to Williams and Schaak, other members of the research team include Jacob S. Beveridge, Matthew R. Buck, and James F. Bondi of the Department of Chemistry at Penn State; and Rajiv Misra and Peter Schiffer of the Department of Physics and the Materials Research Institute at Penn State.


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Contact: Barbara Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

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