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Wild Plum, Nano Self-assembly Delivery, Rice Leaf Self-cleansing and More
By: Rachel Grabenhofer, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: August 2, 2013, from the August 2013 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
page 2 of 3A report by the National Science Foundation (NSF) explains that nanoparticles have been used to transport chemotherapy drugs to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. However, the amount of drug loaded into these carriers is difficult to control. Therefore, an ideal scenario would be to turn the drugs into their own delivery systems, eliminating the synthetic vehicles altogether. A team of anti-cancer researchers, funded by NSF, from Johns Hopkins University is working toward this end, and has published work in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on an approach to enable the hydrophobic anticancer drug camptothecin (CPT) to self-assemble into stable, well-defined nanostructures. These structures can be loaded at 23% to 38%, and designed so that under the right conditions, they release their content.
According to the NSF report, in order for the drug to become its own nano-scale delivery system, it must act in such a way to draw molecules together to form a nanostructure, yet maintain its solubility in aqueous solution. To make the drug more hydrophilic, the researchers are working with water-soluble peptides, incorporating them into the drugs via biodegradable linkers, so they become self-assembling. In an interview by NSF with Honggang Cui, researcher on the project, Cui envisioned eventually altering the peptide sequence to control its size, shape and surface chemistry, to create different drug sizes and shapes for a given target.
Rice leaves and butterfly wings for self-cleaning
GD Bixler and B Bhushan; Sept. 11, 2012 (online); Soft Matter; and 2013 accepted manuscript; Nanoscale
Researchers at Ohio State University are looking to the low adhesion surface characteristics of rice leaves and butterfly wings for self-cleaning answers. Using combinations of actual and replica samples, some based on shark skin and lotus flowers, the researchers sought to replicate these characteristics by giving the samples a superhydrophobic and low adhesion nanostructured coating. Their work, published in Soft Matter, discusses how shark skin—with its anisotropic flow and low drag, and lotus—with its hydrophobic and self-cleaning effects, can serve as conceptual models for self-cleaning and antifouling properties.
In relation, the same authors will explore rice leaf and butterfly wing fluid drag and self-cleaning properties in studies yet to be published in Nanoscale in 2013. Fish scales and shark skin also are studied, and data on morphology, drag, self-cleaning, contact angle and contact angle hysteresis presented, in attempt to understand wettability, viscosity and velocity. Liquid repellent coatings are then utilized to recreate or combine these various effects, and explored for applications in the medical, marine, and industrial fields.
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