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Nanobio materials in medical applications

Nanotechnology plays an important role in biomedical and medical industry applications. Some of the applications are: tissue engineering, detection of protein, drug and gene delivery, probing of DNA structure, separation and purification of biological molecules and cells, etc.

Nano particles are compatible in size to the protein dimensions making it appropriate for bio tagging or labeling. In addition, the biological tags, where the interaction with biological target happens by biological coating or layer of biopolymers and antibodies attached to nanoparticles. Nanomaterial is able to fluoresce or change optical properties. These behaviors result in biocompatible property for nanomaterials.

Nano biomaterials are widely used in medicine and biological applications. Some recent developments for medicine applications are; tissue engineering, detection of protein and cancer therapy, medical imaging using quantum dots or chromophores synthesis for cancer diagnosis and drug delivery systems with benefit of targeting a specific cell for delivery with more therapy efficacy.

Tissue engineering and cancer therapy

Tissue engineering

In the tissue engineering, as the smooth surface of the artificial bone will be rejected by the body, it is coated with nanoparticles to overcome this problem, but suffers from the lack of bioactivity, like titanium. Therefore, the approaches were made to use apatite coating on titanium which resulted in thick non-uniform and poor adhesion surfaces. Hence making apatite from the simulated body fluid has an advantage of strong adherent and uniform layers.

Cancer therapy

prostate cancer

For treating cancers it is usually difficult to get the right amount of each drug to the tumor where combination drug therapy is more effective than single drugs. Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a nanoparticle that can deliver precise doses of two or more drugs to prostate cancer cells. The researchers tailored their particles to deliver cisplatin and docetaxel, two drugs commonly used to treat many different types of cancer. Such particles could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy while minimizing the side effects normally seen with these drugs, and could also be adapted to target cancers other than prostate cancer, or even to deliver drugs for other diseases that require combination therapy.

Once the drugs are loaded into the nanoparticle, the researchers add a tag that binds to a molecule called PSMA, which is located on the surfaces of most prostate tumor cells. This tag allows the nanoparticles to go directly to their target, bypassing healthy tissues and potentially reducing the side effects caused by most chemotherapy drugs.

Human PC-3 prostate cells and a non-malignant fibroblast cell line incubated with the carbon coated nanomagnets did not experience major cytotoxic (cell-destroying) effects. The cell cycle distribution and the apoptosis rate were not impaired by the presence of nanomagnets, reflecting the biocompatible character of these structures. This breakthrough provides an effective treatment option for many types of cancer, without the destruction of surrounding cells associated with chemotherapy or invasive surgery.

brain cancer

Recent studies show that titanium dioxide nanoparticles, a type of light-sensitive material widely used in sunscreens, cosmetics, and even wastewater treatment, can destroy some cancer cells when the chemical is exposed to ultraviolet light. But there was difficulty in getting nanoparticles to target and enter cancer cells while avoiding healthy cells.

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles chemically linked to an antibody can recognize and get attached to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells. Scientists in Illinois have discovered that when they exposed cultured human GMB cells to these so-called "nanobio hybrids," the nanoparticles killed up to 80 percent of the brain cancer cells after 5 minutes of exposure to focused white light. The results suggest that these nanoparticles could become a promising part of brain cancer therapy, when used during surgery.


Researchers from the University of Hull have discovered a way to load up nanoparticles with large numbers of light-sensitive molecules to create a more effective form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for treating cancer. The nanoparticles have also been designed to be the perfect size and shape to penetrate easily into the tumor. The nanoparticles are made from a material that limits the leaching of its contents while in the bloodstream, but when activated with light, at the tumor, the toxic reactive oxygen species can diffuse freely out of the particles; so that that damage is confined to the area of the cancer.

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