Buckyballs can do it all, delivering imaging agents and therapy

A perennial favorite nanoparticle, the buckyball, is making a tiny return to the news this week. The C60 molecule, full name buckminsterfullerene (named after the geodesic domes of Richard Buckminster Fuller) was first discovered in 1985, earned a Nobel Prize for its developers in 1996, and since then has been touted as a possible drug-delivery device and imaging agent, among other things. Now, researchers in Virginia are saying that it can be both--a fullerene "theranostic" agent can deliver therapy along with enhance the diagnosis, imaging and treatment of brain tumors. Fill the inside of the buckyball cage with the MRI contrast agent gadolinium and radioactive lutetium 177 to the outside to deliver brachytherapy and there you have your dream nanoparticle that can do it all. It's worked in limited animal studies, anyway, and researchers hope that someday it can be tried in humans. More here