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NIM nanosystems initiative munich

Monday, 20 July, 2009

Chasing tiny vehicles

Microscope shows how nanoferries invade cells

Nanoparticles are just billionths of a millimeter in size. Exhibiting novel and often surprising properties, they are finding their way into an endless stream of equally innovative products. In medical therapies, for example, tiny nanovehicles could one day ferry drugs or even genes into cells. So far, the only way of testing these approaches has been to wait for the desired effect to show – the activation of a transported gene inside a cell for example. Under the direction of LMU Munich physicochemist Professor Christoph Bräuchle, a research group cooperating with Dr. Christian Plank of the Technische Universität München (TUM) has now used a highly sensitive microscopic technique to pursue individual nanoparticles as they make their way into target cells – in real-time and at high spatial and temporal resolution. They tested magnetic nanoparticles that could be used, among other things, in cancer therapy. This approach should also allow a better understanding of existing nanovectors as well as the development of new systems, as reported in the current cover story of the “Journal of Controlled Release”. (Journal of Controlled Release, 20 July 2009)

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