Research uses nanoparticles to possibly eliminate need for invasive surgery

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A Physics professor of Mapúa Institute of Technology conducted a research on the applications of nanoparticles in the biomedical field under the Center for Biomedical Technology in Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU), Taiwan.

Dr. Jacque Lynn F. Gabayno of Mapúa’s Department of Physics researched about the capacity of magnetic nanomaterials (particularly iron oxide or magnetite) for biomedical applications especially for noninvasive, nonsurgical method of removing blood clot. The research is part of her postdoctoral research on a joint academic program of Mapúa and CYCU, along with Da-Wei Liu, Ming Chang, and Yu-Hao Linc.

Her research particularly tries to detect blood clot right away and mitigate it even when the person is not in the hospital.

“The trend now is to explore new materials for biomedical applications,” Dr. Gabayno said. “Currently, it is still in infancy, but what the research does is to show proof of principle that it can be done.”

Iron (II, III) oxide nanoparticles or magnetite are being evaluated for use in science and technology due to their biocompatibility, non-toxicity, and super paramagnetic properties. These nanoparticles are used as probes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a medical device that gives detailed images of organs and tissues, as well as conduits for targeted drug delivery systems.

In Dr. Gabayno’s study, the capability of nanoparticles in targeting a specific problematic area of the body, in this case an occlusion—a vein or artery blocked—by a clotting of blood, or thrombus. This condition can severely affect the blood circulation to the heart and brain, which can lead to a person’s death if not addressed right away.

Medical practitioners usually advise the patient to take medicines for blood clotting, but in severe cases, an invasive surgery is performed, which is done by manually removing the blood clot through cutting the part of the body where the clotting is located. With Dr. Gabayno’s research, Iron (II, III) nanoparticles can be controlled remotely, with the use of a magnetic field, to remove the thrombus, thus eliminating the need to perform invasive surgery.

“You can take medicine, but the timeline from which the clot is developed up to the time when the medicine can take effect is very long; the person can die. Detecting the blood clot right away is one of the fundamentals that the research tries to do,” Dr. Gabayno said.

According to her, the study revealed that with narrow channels like the veins, nanoparticles can remove many occlusions over a short period of time, enough to make the bloodstream flow or pass through the channel without damaging the vein and other parts of the body.

In the study, Dr. Gabayno, along with her fellow researchers, used a solenoid, a cylindrical coil of wire acting as a magnet, to create a magnetic control setup. They opted to use a solenoid instead of a large size magnet because it can be connected to a power supply and can control the electricity, thus being able to control the strength of the magnetic field. The solenoid is used so the magnetic field can orient the nanoparticles, which will then assemble into micro rods after switching on the solenoid.

The results revealed that the fast rotation of the nanoparticles efficiently allows the removal of the occlusion—the higher the flow of current, the faster the nanoparticles—thus it can be used to perform noninvasive thrombolysis (occlusion removal) in narrow channels.

Gabayno said that though the research has not yet been implemented in actual medical scenarios, the study can provide valuable information on the application of nanoparticles in the biomedical field as possible alternatives to invasive surgery to save lives and cure illnesses.(Jairus Jusi)