A new material developed at the University of Virginia – an oxygen nanosensor that couples a light-emitting dye with a biopolymer – simplifies the imaging of oxygen-deficient regions of tumors. Such tumors are associated with increased cancer aggressiveness and are particularly difficult to treat.
Oxygen nanosensors are powerful new research tools that one day may also be used for the diagnosis and detection of diseases and for planning treatment strategies.
The new material is based on poly(lactic acid), a biorenewable, biodegradable polymer that is safe for the body and the environment, and is easy and inexpensive to fabricate in many forms, including films, fibers and nanoparticles. It is useful for medical research as well as environmental research, sustainable design and green products, too.
The versatile sensor material is the result of research combining green chemistry with nanotechnology, and is reported in the current online edition of the journal Nature Materials.
Source: A dual-emissive-materials design concept enables tumour hypoxia imaging
Guoqing Zhang, Gregory M. Palmer, Mark W. Dewhirst, Cassandra L. Fraser. Nature Materials (9 August 2009) doi:10.1038/nmat2509 Letter