DAEJEON, South Korea, July 4 (Korea Bizwire) – In vivo nanoparticles that can be injected into the body for real-time monitoring of cancer cell metastasis or movement of drugs have been developed by researchers in Korea.
On Monday, July 4, Dr. Hong Kwan-su and Dr. Park Hye-sun from the Korea Basic Science Institute and Dr. Seo Yeong-duk and Dr. Nam Sang-hwan from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology announced that they have jointly developed high-sensitive imaging technology that can track down ‘upconversion nanoparticles’, which can be detected with near-infrared imaging technology.
The 20nm nanoparticles developed by the research team can be monitored for an extended period of time and analyzed quantitatively as they emit high-energy (short wavelength) radiation even under lower energy levels.
Photo bleaching (a fluorescent chemical compound’s loss of ability to fluoresce) occurs for existing in vivo nanoparticles when they are overly exposed to a light source, making it difficult to conduct quantitative analysis.
The ‘upconversion nanoparticle’ developed by the research team either absorbs or releases near-infrared radiation that reaches deeper into the body, so in-depth observation is possible.
Specifically, the new nanoparticle has a sensitivity that is four-times higher than existing nanoparticles, which means that sentinel lymph nodes can now be observed more precisely compared to existing techniques such as optical imaging, which is crucial for determining whether cancer has metastasized.
The research team injected ‘upconversion nanoparticles’ into a mouse’s foot and conducted observations for 30 days using a near-infrared imaging device, and discovered how the nanoparticles moved to a sentinel lymph node through lymphatic vessels.
The team proved the safety of these nanoparticles as they can be seen leaving the body.
The development of these nanoparticles will address the concern of nanoparticle biocompatibility in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“Diagnosing metastatic cancer or monitoring a treatment process using stem cells or immune cells requires a technology that can track down cells or drugs for a long time, so I believe the upconversion nanoparticles will be very useful,” said Dr. Hong.
The research findings were published in June’s issue of renowned international journal ‘Scientific Reports’.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)