Home > News > Cells Prefer Nanodiscs Over Nanorods

Cells Prefer Nanodiscs Over Nanorods

Bookmark and Share

Roy’s team used an imprinting technology that works like a cookie cutter but on the nanoscale. Drugs are mixed with a polymer solution and dispensed on a silicon wafer. Then a shape is imprinted onto the polymer-drug mixture using a quartz template. The material is then solidified using UV light. Whatever the cookie cutter’s template – triangle, rod, disc – a nanoparticle with that shape is produced.Image Source: Georgia Tech, Image Credit: Rob Felt

For years scientists have been working to fundamentally understand how nanoparticles move throughout the human body. One big unanswered question is how the shape of nanoparticles affects their entry into cells. Now researchers have discovered that under typical culture conditions, mammalian cells prefer disc-shaped nanoparticles over those shaped like rods. Understanding how the shape of nanoparticles affects their transport into cells could be a major boost for the field of nanomedicine by helping scientists to design better therapies for various diseases, such as improving the efficacy and reducing side effects of cancer drugs. In addition to nanoparticle geometry, the researchers also discovered that different types of cells have different mechanisms to pull in nanoparticles of different sizes, which was previously unknown. The research team also used theoretical models to identify the physical parameters that cells use when taking in nanoparticles. “This research identified some very novel yet fundamental aspects in which cells interact with the shape of nanoparticles,” said Krishnendu Roy of Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. He conducted this research at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with Profs. S. V. Sreenivasan and Li Shi, but is continuing the work at Georgia Tech. Roy’s team used a unique approach to making the differently shaped nanoparticles. The researchers adapted an imprinting technology used in the semiconductor industry and rigged it to work with biological molecules, Roy said. This imprinting technique, which they developed at UT-Austin, works like a cookie cutter but on the nanoscale. Drugs are mixed with a polymer solution and dispensed on a silicon wafer. Then a shape is imprinted onto the polymer-drug mixture using a quartz template. The material is then solidified using UV light. Whatever the cookie cutter’s template – triangle, rod, disc – a nanoparticle with that shape is produced.