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University of the Basque Country team develop nano-hydrogels capable of detecting cancer cells
Date:2/17/2009

nts: their molecular size. The most effective manner to administer a pharmaceutical drug is intravenously it gets to all parts in a very short time , but very large molecules cannot be injected because they may cause obstruction or problems on the organism such as, for example, angina pectoris and even heart attack. The essential condition for their use in humans is that these particles have to be sufficiently small so as not to obstruct the veins and arteries and, besides, not be detected by the white corpuscles otherwise the latter will attack the former and cause them to enlarge, giving rise to the previously mentioned problem. Thus, if these particles are small enough to pass through the membrane of the kidney, in the case of not detecting any cancer cells, they can be excreted in the urine.

The problem of size

The use of nanoparticles for these ends holds a number of difficulties: interweaving them in a controlled manner in order to create the nano-hydrogels; the spaces created within the structure of the net having the necessary size to transport the pharmaceutical drug; and all the particles having a similar size.

What happens is, on synthesising polymers, particles of very different sizes are obtained. If they are to be injected into the human body, these particles cannot be much greater than 15-30 nanometres. To this end, the research team perfected a technique that not only enabled the obtaining of nanoparticles, but also that they all were of similar size.

The final design of the nanoparticles was a success. Currently these are undergoing "in vivo" trials with research teams led by Dr. Jos Mara Teijn, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Complutense University in Madrid and Dr. Antonio Quintana, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the UPV/EHU.

But these intelligent nano-hydrogels are not only useful for combating cancer. The application of nano-hydrogels with anti-tubercular pharmaceutic
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Contact: Lucia Alvarez
lucia@elhuyar.com
34-688-673-679
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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