Pan, who is a research instructor in medicine, played a leading role in the creation of nanobialys and chose the particles' name. "When we looked at the particles with an electron microscope, we saw they are round and flat, with a dimple in the center, like red blood cells, but also a little irregular, like bagels," he says. "I came across the word bialy, which is a Polish roll like a bagel without a hole that can be made with different toppings. So I called the particles nanobialys."
Pan is one of a group of researchers headed by Gregory M. Lanza, M.D., Ph.D., and Samuel A. Wickline, M.D. Lanza is an associate professor of medicine and biomedical engineering. Wickline is a professor of medicine, physics, biomedical engineering and cell biology and physiology. Lanza and Wickline are Washington University cardiologists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Nanoparticles can be a more effective way to administer medications and imaging contrast agents because they are targeted, packaged units drugs and imaging agents stay on the nanoparticles, which can be made to concentrate at a specific site in the body.
In animal studies, the research group has shown that their original, spherical nanoparticles can carry therapeutic compounds to tumors and atherosclerotic plaques. These nanoparticles also can hold thousands of molecules of gadolinium, which allows the researchers to use standard MRI scanning equipment to see where the nanoparticles congregate. The scans can then detect the size of lesions as well as the effect of drugs delivered by the nanoparticles.
But gadolinium has recently been linked to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). First described in 2000, NSF is an unusual progressive, incurable disease seen in about 3 percent of patients with severe kidney disease who have had MRI scans using gadolinium. In NSF, collagen accumulates in tissues causing skin hardening and thickening, joint stiffening that can
|Contact: Gwen Ericson|
Washington University School of Medicine