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Nano Today

JingJing Zhang, FangFang Cheng, JingJing Li, Jun-Jie Zhu, Yi Lu
Recent advances in nanoscale science and technology have generated nanomaterials with unique optical properties. Over the past decade, numerous fluorescent nanoprobes have been developed for highly sensitive and selective sensing and imaging of metal ions, both in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we provide an overview of the recent development of the design and optical properties of the different classes of fluorescent nanoprobes based on noble metal nanomaterials, upconversion nanoparticles, semiconductor quantum dots, and carbon-based nanomaterials...
June 2016: Nano Today
Yong Lin Kong, Maneesh K Gupta, Blake N Johnson, Michael C McAlpine
The ability to three-dimensionally interweave biological and functional materials could enable the creation of bionic devices possessing unique and compelling geometries, properties, and functionalities. Indeed, interfacing high performance active devices with biology could impact a variety of fields, including regenerative bioelectronic medicines, smart prosthetics, medical robotics, and human-machine interfaces. Biology, from the molecular scale of DNA and proteins, to the macroscopic scale of tissues and organs, is three-dimensional, often soft and stretchable, and temperature sensitive...
June 2016: Nano Today
Tsukasa Mizuhara, Daniel F Moyano, Vincent M Rotello
The surface properties of nanoparticles (NPs) dictate their interaction with the outside world. The use of precisely designed molecular ligands to control NP surface properties provides an important toolkit for modulating their interaction with biological systems, facilitating their use in biomedicine. In this review we will discuss the application of the atom-by-atom control provided by organic synthesis to the generation of engineered nanoparticles, with emphasis on how the functionalization of NPs with these "small" organic molecules (Mw < 1,000) can be used to engineer NPs for a wide range of applications...
February 2016: Nano Today
Neda Habibi, Nazila Kamaly, Adnan Memic, Hadi Shafiee
Self-assembly of peptides can yield an array of well-defined nanostructures that are highly attractive nanomaterials for many biomedical applications such as drug delivery. Some of the advantages of self-assembled peptide nanostructures over other delivery platforms include their chemical diversity, biocompatibility, high loading capacity for both hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs, and their ability to target molecular recognition sites. Furthermore, these self-assembled nanostructures could be designed with novel peptide motifs, making them stimuli-responsive and achieving triggered drug delivery at disease sites...
February 2016: Nano Today
Wang Ma, Andrew G Cheetham, Honggang Cui
The convergence of nanoscience and drug delivery has prompted the formation of the field of nanomedicine, one that exploits the novel physicochemical and biological properties of nanostructures for improved medical treatments and reduced side effects. Until recently, this nanostructure-mediated strategy considered the drug to be solely a biologically active compound to be delivered, and its potential as a molecular building unit remained largely unexplored. A growing trend within nanomedicine has been the use of drug molecules to build well-defined nanostructures of various sizes and shapes...
February 2016: Nano Today
Bomy Lee Chung, Michael J Toth, Nazila Kamaly, Yoshitaka J Sei, Jacob Becraft, Willem J M Mulder, Zahi A Fayad, Omid C Farokhzad, YongTae Kim, Robert Langer
The endothelium lines the internal surfaces of blood and lymphatic vessels and has a critical role in maintaining homeostasis. Endothelial dysfunction is involved in the pathology of many diseases and conditions, including disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Given this common etiology in a range of diseases, medicines targeting an impaired endothelium can strengthen the arsenal of therapeutics. Nanomedicine - the application of nanotechnology to healthcare - presents novel opportunities and potential for the treatment of diseases associated with an impaired endothelium...
December 1, 2015: Nano Today
Junfeng Shi, Bing Xu
Being driven by non-covalent interactions, the formation of functional assemblies (or aggregates) of small molecules at nanoscale is a more common process in water than one would think. While most efforts on self-assembly in cellular environment concentrate on the assemblies of proteins (e.g., microtubules or amyloid fibers), nanoscale assemblies of small molecules are emerging functional entities that exhibit important biological function in cellular environments. This review describes the increasing efforts on the exploration of nanoscale assemblies of small molecules that largely originate from the serendipitous observations in research fields other than nanoscience and technology...
October 2015: Nano Today
Hui Li, Taek Lee, Thomas Dziubla, Fengmei Pi, Sijin Guo, Jing Xu, Chan Li, Farzin Haque, Xing-Jie Liang, Peixuan Guo
The value of polymers is manifested in their vital use as building blocks in material and life sciences. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polynucleic acid, but its polymeric nature in materials and technological applications is often overlooked due to an impression that RNA is seemingly unstable. Recent findings that certain modifications can make RNA resistant to RNase degradation while retaining its authentic folding property and biological function, and the discovery of ultra-thermostable RNA motifs have adequately addressed the concerns of RNA unstability...
October 1, 2015: Nano Today
Alina Y Rwei, Weiping Wang, Daniel S Kohane
Externally triggerable drug delivery systems provide a strategy for the delivery of therapeutic agents preferentially to a target site, presenting the ability to enhance therapeutic efficacy while reducing side effects. Light is a versatile and easily tuned external stimulus that can provide spatiotemporal control. Here we will review the use of nanoparticles in which light triggers drug release or induces particle binding to tissues (phototargeting).
August 1, 2015: Nano Today
Alexander S Cheung, David J Mooney
Immunotherapy is a promising treatment modality for cancer as it can promote specific and durable anti-cancer responses. However, limitations to current approaches remain. Therapeutics administered as soluble injections often require high doses and frequent re-dosing, which can result in systemic toxicities. Soluble bolus-based vaccine formulations typically elicit weak cellular immune responses, limiting their use for cancer. Current methods for ex vivo T cell expansion for adoptive T cell therapies are suboptimal, and achieving high T cell persistence and sustained functionality with limited systemic toxicity following transfer remains challenging...
August 1, 2015: Nano Today
Heather Herd Gustafson, Dolly Holt-Casper, David W Grainger, Hamidreza Ghandehari
Phagocytes are key cellular participants determining important aspects of host exposure to nanomaterials, initiating clearance, biodistribution and the tenuous balance between host tolerance and adverse nanotoxicity. Macrophages in particular are believed to be among the first and primary cell types that process nanoparticles, mediating host inflammatory and immunological biological responses. These processes occur ubiquitously throughout tissues where nanomaterials are present, including the host mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS) residents in dedicated host filtration organs (i...
August 2015: Nano Today
Marina Talelli, Matthias Barz, Cristianne J Rijcken, Fabian Kiessling, Wim E Hennink, Twan Lammers
Polymeric micelles (PM) are extensively used to improve the delivery of hydrophobic drugs. Many different PM have been designed and evaluated over the years, and some of them have steadily progressed through clinical trials. Increasing evidence suggests, however, that for prolonged circulation times and for efficient EPR-mediated drug targeting to tumors and to sites of inflammation, PM need to be stabilized, to prevent premature disintegration. Core-crosslinking is among the most popular methods to improve the in vivo stability of PM, and a number of core-crosslinked polymeric micelles (CCPM) have demonstrated promising efficacy in animal models...
February 1, 2015: Nano Today
Weiqiang Chen, Yue Shao, Xiang Li, Gang Zhao, Jianping Fu
During embryogenesis and tissue maintenance and repair in an adult organism, a myriad of stem cells are regulated by their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) enriched with tissue/organ-specific nanoscale topographical cues to adopt different fates and functions. Attributed to their capability of self-renewal and differentiation into most types of somatic cells, stem cells also hold tremendous promise for regenerative medicine and drug screening. However, a major challenge remains as to achieve fate control of stem cells in vitro with high specificity and yield...
December 1, 2014: Nano Today
Seiji Miura, Hidenori Suzuki, You Han Bae
Limited drug distribution is partially responsible for the efficacy gap between preclinical and clinical studies of nano-sized drug carriers for cancer therapy. In this study, we examined the transport behavior of cationic micelles formed from a triblock copolymer of poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide)-block-branched polyethyleneimine-block-poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) using a unique in vitro tumor model composed of a multilayered cell culture (MCC) and an Ussing chamber system. The Cy3-labeled cationic micelles showed remarkable Cy3 distribution in the MCC whereas charge-shielded micelles with a poly(ethylene glycol) surface accumulated on the surface of the MCC...
December 1, 2014: Nano Today
Nasim Annabi, Ali Tamayol, Su Ryon Shin, Amir M Ghaemmaghami, Nicholas A Peppas, Ali Khademhosseini
Surgical adhesive biomaterials have emerged as substitutes to sutures and staples in many clinical applications. Nano-enabled materials containing nanoparticles or having a distinct nanotopography have been utilized for generation of a new class of surgical materials with enhanced functionality. In this review, the state of the art in the development of conventional surgical adhesive biomaterials is critically reviewed and their shortcomings are outlined. Recent advancements in generation of nano-enabled surgical materials with their potential future applications are discussed...
October 1, 2014: Nano Today
Euan McLeod, Aydogan Ozcan
Imaging object details with length scales below approximately 200 nm has been historically difficult for conventional microscope objective lenses because of their inability to resolve features smaller than one-half the optical wavelength. Here we review some of the recent approaches to surpass this limit by harnessing self-assembly as a fabrication mechanism. Self-assembly can be used to form individual nano- and micro-lenses, as well as to form extended arrays of such lenses. These lenses have been shown to enable imaging with resolutions as small as 50 nm half-pitch using visible light, which is well below the Abbe diffraction limit...
October 1, 2014: Nano Today
Che-Ming J Hu, Liangfang Zhang
To improve innate defense against diseases, vaccine formulations are routinely administered to mount immune responses against disease-causing organisms or their associated toxins. These formulations are typically prepared with weakened forms of microbes, their surface proteins, or their virulence factors, which can train the immune system to recognize and neutralize similar infectious threats in later exposures. Owing to many unique properties of nanoparticles in enhancing vaccine potency, nanoscale carriers are drawing increasing interest as a platform for developing safer and more effective vaccine formulations...
August 1, 2014: Nano Today
Xi Zhu, Aleksandar F Radovic-Moreno, Jun Wu, Robert Langer, Jinjun Shi
For more than 2 billion years, microbes have reigned on our planet, evolving or outlasting many obstacles they have encountered. In the 20(th) century, this trend took a dramatic turn with the introduction of antibiotics and vaccines. Nevertheless, since then, microbes have progressively eroded the effectiveness of previously successful antibiotics by developing resistance, and many infections have eluded conventional vaccine design approaches. Moreover, the emergence of resistant and more virulent strains of bacteria has outpaced the development of new antibiotics over the last few decades...
August 1, 2014: Nano Today
Sutapa Barua, Samir Mitragotri
Nanoparticles (NPs) have emerged as an effective modality for the treatment of various diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. Various forms of NPs including liposomes, polymer particles, micelles, dendrimers, quantum dots, gold NPs and carbon nanotubes have been synthesized and tested for therapeutic applications. One of the greatest challenges that limit the success of NPs is their ability to reach the therapeutic site at necessary doses while minimizing accumulation at undesired sites...
April 1, 2014: Nano Today
Sabine Hauert, Spring Berman, Radhika Nagpal, Sangeeta N Bhatia
Targeted nanoparticles are increasingly being engineered for the treatment of cancer. By design, they can passively accumulate in tumors, selectively bind to targets in their environment, and deliver localized treatments. However, the penetration of targeted nanoparticles deep into tissue can be hindered by their slow diffusion and a high binding affinity. As a result, they often localize to areas around the vessels from which they extravasate, never reaching the deep-seeded tumor cells, thereby limiting their efficacy...
December 1, 2013: Nano Today
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