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New nanotube findings by Stanford researchers give boost to potential biomedical applications
Date:1/29/2008

his research group in collaboration with Dai's group.

''This is the first time anyone has done a systematic circulation and excretion study like this for nanotubes, and data on other nano particles is also scarce,'' Dai said. ''The excretion pathway may apply to other nano materials and may need to be looked at closely like this also.''

Previous research published by Dai's group has demonstrated the potential for using nanotubes in treating cancerous cells and targeting tumors in mice.

His group used Raman spectroscopy, a method of applying light from a laser beam that effectively ''illuminates'' the presence of the target molecules in the organs of the mice.

Being hit with light from the beam causes a detectable change in the state of a molecule's energy. Carbon nanotubes, composed entirely of carbon atoms that are mostly arranged in linked hexagonal rings, give off a strong signal in response to the beam. This allowed the researchers to pinpoint the position of the chosen molecules, as well as ascertain their abundance in the blood or organs.

Previous detection methods that relied on attaching fluorescent labels or spectroscopic tags to the nanotubes had yielded unreliable results. The attachments tended to either come loose from the tubes or decay over time spans ranging from a few days to only a few hours-far too short to reveal the ultimate fate of the nanotubes.

While knowing the carbon nanotubes will move through the digestive system at a healthy pace is critical to future practical applications, it is also crucial that the nanotubes not enter the digestive system too soon after being injected; they need to spend enough time in the circulatory system to find their way to their target location.

The key to fine-tuning the carbon nanotubes' speed of circulation turns on how the basic, bare-bones floor model is chemically accessorized.

''You can make the nanotubes circulate a very long time i
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Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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