Aug 162010
 
Electron microscope image (STEM-HAADF) of a go...
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At the nanoscale chemistry is different and nanoparticles don’t behave like normal particles. Nanoparticles tend to be more chemically reactive than ordinary-sized particles of the same material making it hard to predict how they will act under different conditions and raising serious questions about the use of such particles – particularly inside the human body. Researchers have now developed a method for predicting the ways nanoparticles will interact with biological systems – including the human body – that could improve human and environmental safety in the handling on nanomaterials, and have applications for drug delivery.

North Carolina State University researchers Dr. Jim Riviere, Dr. Nancy Monteiro-Riviere and Dr. Xin-Rui Xia wanted to create a method for the biological characterization of nanoparticles – a screening tool that would allow other scientists to see how various nanoparticles might react when inside the body.

“We wanted to find a good, biologically relevant way to determine how nanomaterials react with cells,” Riviere says. “When a nanomaterial enters the human body, it immediately binds to various proteins and amino acids. The molecules a particle binds with will determine where it will go.”

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