A new platform developed at UCSB increases the efficiency of drug delivery and allows excess particles to be washed away Prostate cancer cells were targeted by two separate silver nanoparticles (red and green), while the cell nucleus was labeled in blueusing Hoescht dye. Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have designed a nanoparticle that has a couple of unique — and important — properties. Spherical in shape and silver in composition, it is encased in a shell coated with a peptide that enables it to target tumor cells. What’s more, the shell is etchable so those nanoparticles that don’t hit their target can be broken down and eliminated. The research findings appear today in the journal Nature Materials. The core of the nanoparticle employs a phenomenon called plasmonics. In plasmonics, nanostructured metals such as gold and silver resonate in light and concentrate the electromagnetic field near the surface. In this way, fluorescent dyes are enhanced, appearing about tenfold brighter than their natural state when no metal is present. When the core is etched, the enhancement goes away and the particle becomes dim. Erkki Ruoslahti Photo Credit: SPENCER BRUTTIG UCSB’s Ruoslahti Research Laboratory also developed a simple etching technique using biocompatible chemicals to rapidly
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