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In the full-speed race to develop nanoparticle-based cancer therapeutics and imaging agents, a small but growing group of researchers is quietly developing the methods needed to fully characterize a wide variety of materials at the nanoscale, for later detect or quantify its presence in blood and other human tissues. One of these initiatives, led by King Chan, doctor of the National Cancer Institute, and Anil Patri, doctor of the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory, has recently developed a direct method for the analysis of two types of fullerene nanoparticles.
In his research, published in the journal Electrophoresis (“Analysis of fullerene-based nanomaterial in serum matrix by CE”), the team used capillary electrophoresis, a standard laboratory tool, to analyze a wide variety of concentrations of carboxifullerene, a water-soluble nanoparticle related to buckyballs, and dendrofullerene, a larger hybrid nanoparticle that combines the characteristics of a buckyball with those of the polymeric chains found in dendrimers. Several research groups are developing these two nanoparticles for biomedical applications in humans.
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