For the first time, scientists have discovered that nano-particles shaped like rods and worms are far more active at traveling through cells and exact obstacles like the nucleus than spherical ones. This is great news for the improvement of new drug distribution systems because one of the main struggles for scientists in the field is getting drug toting nano-particles into the right part of the cell in the first place. Elizabeth Hinde lead author, from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, says, "We were able to display for the first time that nano-particles are shaped like rods and worms were more active than sphere-shaped nano-particles at crossing intracellular barriers and this allowed them to get all the way into the nucleus of the cell.
Scientists were capable to understand the working of nano-particles, by using (florescent microscopy) of different natures and shapes through a single cancer cell. They were then able to identify where the drug was being free, and how it spread all over the cell.
Hinde says, "You need to know how things work out at their final destination in order to aim them there. Now we have a device to track this unbelievable journey to the center of the cell. It means other research teams can use this to measure their nano-particles and drug distribution systems. They will be capable of working out how to modify their particles to assess the nucleus or other assemblies in the cell, and device where the cargo is being dropped off. This was not promising before."
But let’s step back a little and talk about nano-particles. Nano-particles are well-defined as particles between 1 and 100 nano-meters in diameter, and they are progressively being used to carry drugs to exact areas of the body, kill cancer cells, and allow scientists to image the body.
The problem is, nano-particles are not flawless. Though many nano-particle experiments seem helpful, some fail on actually making it into the exact area of the cell, because cells are in fact really restricted and it can be difficult to get there.
Hinde’s team observed four kinds of nano-particle shapes: micelles and vesicles, which are two kinds of spheres; along with rod and worm-shaped nano-particles.
When the scientists used doxorubicin (a cancer drug) in the unlikely shaped nano-particles, the rod and worms impassively entered the nucleus without any problem. The spherical ones, on the other hand, were stuck on the outer part of the nucleus. Getting through the nuclear membrane and into the nucleus is vital for growing the toxicity of cancer cells, so rods and worms came out the best.
Hinde says, "If we can change the lengths and heights of these rod shaped nano-particles, so they only pass through the cellular obstacles in cancer cells and not stronger ones, we can decrease some of the disadvantages of chemotherapies."
This new technology has the capability to change the method we analyze nano-particles usually. This method can be performed using present technology in almost any lab, so no new machines are required.
Gooding says, "the information and data we can gather from the new study procedures we have established. People are going to see, quickly, that they can get all sorts of new information about their particles."
We are happy to see where this will lead.