Multitasking nanoparticles can do biosensing and drug delivery

Like all workers, the ability to multitask seems to be a big selling point in the nano world, too. Nature Publishing Group's Asia Materials tells us about Jinlong Zhang and Lingzhi Wang from the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai and their work on single nanoparticles that can handle many jobs at once, like biosensing and drug delivery.

What they did was bake three kinds of organic dyes into the nanomix. They are biocompatible, photostable carriers that fluoresce in different colors when exposed to the same wavelength of light, Asia Materials reports. The "multifluorescent" spheres can be detected while in the body, allowing the transport routes for different drug molecules to be tracked in real time.

"Simultaneously fluorescence-trackable drug carriers will ensure that drugs are precisely located in different target organs in complex in vivo environments," Zhang tells Asia Materials.

So far, they've tested it out in simulated body fluids. The nanoparticles released ibuprofen and other therapeutic agents. They stayed in the fluid for two days and the optical properties remained unchanged, which means the dyes baked into the core did not leak. Then they tried it on human cervical cancer cells, where the nanoparticles penetrated into the cell cytoplasm and generated strong fluorescence signals.

- read more in NPG Asia Materials