24 June 2013

Medicines in nano-volcanoes

The eruption of tiny nano-volcanoes –
a new method of introducing drugs into the patient's body

DailyTechInfo based on the materials of The Engineer: Erupting ‘nano-volcanoes' designed to deliver drugsResearchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) have developed methods for manufacturing so-called nano-volcanoes, tiny nanostructures that can be used to painlessly inject precise doses of drugs into the human patient's body.

The process of manufacturing nano-volcanoes begins with placing spherical nanoparticles made of a special transparent polymer material on the surface of a thin film. These nanoparticles were then illuminated by ultraviolet light, which was focused and scattered with their help, creating light images of a certain shape on the surface of the film.

The thin film on which the nanoparticles were applied is made of a special photoactive material that undergoes chemical changes at the sites of exposure to ultraviolet light. After lighting the material, it was immersed in a liquid solvent, which washed away those parts of the material that had been exposed to light. The remaining material forms the structure of a nano-volcano, which has an internal cavity and a tiny "vent" at the top.

"We can control the shape of light images by changing the diameter of spherical nanoparticles and changing the wavelength of laser light that we illuminate nanoparticles," says Xu Zhang, one of the researchers and author of an article describing the research and the results obtained, "This means that we can control the shape and geometry of the structures created, which determines the height of the nano-volcano and the volume of its internal cavity."

The creation of such complex nanostructures became possible thanks to the creation by NCSU specialists of a complex and accurate computer model that allows calculating the shape and size of nano-volcanoes based on data on the diameter of a spherical nanoparticle and the wavelength of laser light.

Since the structures of nano-volcanoes created have very precise dimensions, the volume of the internal cavity and the diameter of the outlet, they are ideal candidates for using them as a means of administering precisely calculated doses of medications administered over a certain period of time. The size of the cavity determines the amount of the stored drug, and the size of the outlet determines the rate of release of the drug into the patient's body.

Currently, Xu Zhang's group is working to adapt the technology they have developed to the conditions required for the mass production of medicines. In addition, methods are being developed that will allow filling the internal cavities of these nano-volcanoes with liquid or gel-like preparations. And only after solving all the above tasks, it will be possible after some time to expect the appearance of medicines that will be supplied in the form of thin films, which, like a patch, will have to be glued to the patient's skin.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru24.06.2013

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