Dendrimers and Lasers

The power of dendrimers as a technology platform for precisely targeted therapies is in the reduction in time and cost to develop and test a new therapy. Hook up the biomolecular keys, seekers and tools you need to the dendrimer, and set it loose. From EurekAlert!: "A nanocomposite particle can be constructed so that it has a mix of properties that would not otherwise happen in nature. By combining an organic matrix with metallic clusters that can absorb light, it is possible to incorporate such particles into cells and then destroy those targeted cells with a laser. ... A laser can be used to kill cells indiscriminately, but it is really a blunt instrument. High powered lasers do so much damage that the tissue becomes opaque to further light. Yet, lower-powered lasers do not deliver enough energy to kill cells. By labeling cells with [composite nanodevices like loaded dendrimers], light absorption can be selectively and locally enhanced wherever composite nanodevices are present. Irradiation of the mix of labeled and unlabeled cells by laser light, causes tiny bubbles to form that disrupt and damage the labeled cells, but leave unlabeled cells unaffected. This technology holds promise as an alternative therapy for cancer patients." Any widespread, low cost, efficient method of identifying and killing specific cells is a medical revolution in and of itself.



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