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Nanoparticles Explored for Preventing Cell Damage

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Sudipta Seal, materials scientist and engineer at the University of Central Florida, holds a bottle containing billions of ultra-small, engineered nanoceria.Credit: Sudipta Seal, University of Central Florida

Sudipta Seal is enthralled by nanoparticles, particularly those of a rare earth metal called cerium. The particles are showing potential for a wide range of applications, from medicine to energy. Seal is a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and several years ago, he and his colleagues engineered nanoparticles of cerium oxide (CeO2), a material long used in ceramics, catalysts, and fuel cells. The novel nanocrystalline form is non-toxic and biocompatible--ideal for medical applications.Since then, the researchers found that cerium oxide nanoparticles have two additional medical benefits: they behave like an antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative stress, and they can be fine-tuned to potentially deliver medical treatments directly into cells.
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