Book describes advances in imaging of drug-delivery nanoparticles

SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 24, 2011) — Researchers in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio co-authored a new book on the imaging of nanoparticles — tiny particles that in the future may prove to be eminently useful for drug delivery in humans.

“Although there has been a lot of hype about nanoparticle technology, and some things don’t work or are clearly impractical, I predict this technology will be a major force in clinical care,” said nuclear medicine physician William T. Phillips, M.D., co-author and co-editor of Nanoimaging, published by Pan Stanford Publishing. “Some practical ways will include delivering increased amounts of therapeutic agents to infections, lymph nodes, bone marrow and tumors.”

Dr. Phillips and biochemist Beth A. Goins, Ph.D., both in the Department of Radiology, lead a team that is pioneering research of nanoparticle technology, particularly the imaging of these tiny particles. “We have some promising ideas for projects and products utilizing nanoparticles, but those require investment and company generation,” said Dr. Goins, co-author and co-editor of Nanoimaging.

Imaging in cell cultures and rats reveals the effectiveness of nanoparticles in targeting cancer, at least in lab experiments. “When delivered directly into tumors using advanced image-guidance, nanoparticles can carry therapeutic agents that spread throughout the tumor and stay retained within the tumor in a manner that cannot be achieved with other molecules,” Dr. Phillips said.

Other molecules administered in this manner, such as those employed in traditional chemotherapy, do not spread and are not retained, he noted.

In addition to chapters authored by Drs. Goins and Phillips, Nanoimaging includes chapters from nanoimaging researchers at the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, University of Massachusetts, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin, University of London and the University of Toronto.

One prominent scientist in the field of nanotechnology, King Li, M.D., M.B.A., of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, described the book as a timely work with well-written text and rich illustrations that will appeal to scientists of all levels.

Nanoparticles are measured in nanometers, units that are one-billionth of a meter. A red blood cell is about 6,000 nanometers in size.

Dr. Goins and Dr. Phillips wish to thank the following collaborators from the School of Medicine who constitute a multidisciplinary team investigating nanoparticle use in drug delivery. They are Ande Bao, Ph.D., and Randal A. Otto, M.D., FACS, of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; Ralph Blumhardt, M.D., of the Department of Radiology; and Andrew Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the UT Health Science Center.

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