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Research
 

Nanocrystals for Targeted Drug Delivery

 
The primary challenge in the delivery of a drug to a tumor site is to target the anticancer drug specifically in and around tumors and at concentrations that would decrease the growth rate and/or viability of the tumors. An excellent vehicle to achieve targeted delivery of anticancer drug in and around tumors is a magnetic nanocarrier or quantum dots. While the research on quantum dots have just begun, the research on magnetic nanocrystals hooked with anticancer agents and encapsulated with biocompatible polymers have shown promise of viable drug carriers. This novel approach offers a number of advantages over traditional methods of oral administration and intravenous injection. These include: (a) the potential to confer systemic immunity and (b) controlled and effective delivery of drug specifically to the targeted site. We are developing a novel stimuli-responsive (temperature and/or pH-responsive) core-shell magnetic nanocarrier with the properties of tumor targeting and controlled release. Monodisperse magnetic nanoparticles (Fe3O4) (~ 5 nm), chemically functionalized to facilitate attachment of antitumor drug, constitute the core. They are encapsulated with stimuli-responsive biodegradable polymer to form a core-shell structure. Folic acid conjugation of this outer shell targets the tumor cells. The specialized synthesis of the nanocarrier is being examined for its unique drug delivery properties of effective and controlled release of drug at the targeted site. We are now aiming to confirm these characteristics by conducting in-vitro experiments involving drug loading ability, kinetics of drug release, and intracellular uptake of drug via cell imaging using confocal microscope.

The ongoing research is aimed to address important aspects concerning early detection of cancer cells and the delivery of anticancer drug by application of nanotechnology through the exploration of the novel properties of the nanocarrier, highlighting the important role of nanotechnology in medicine. Based on the successful outcome of the ongoing research, our long-term objectives are to extend the study to in-vivo tumor-targeted cell imaging and drug delivery. By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histological methods, information on in-vivo mechanism of real uptake of magnetic nanocarrier in animal model can be obtained.
 
 

Document last revised Monday, December 17, 2007 4:36 PM

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