New technology to monitor chemotherapy using magnetic nanoparticles

Researchers from Michigan State University propose a novel non-invasive magnetic particle imaging (MPI) to monitor chemotherapy release in vivo. This method employs superparamagnetic nanoparticles as the contrast agent to monitor drug release in the body.

In this study researchers designed iron oxide nanocomposite loaded with a chemotherapy drug doxorubicin which serves as a drug delivery system and magnetic particle imaging (MPI) quantification tracer. They showed that nanocomposite-induced MPI signal changes display a linear correlation with the release rate of doxorubicin over time.

Researchers performed this study in both in-vitro cell cultures and murine breast cancer model.

Implications: In vivo drug monitoring technologies are important as they monitor adequate drug release at the site of tumors. Being non-invasive as it is easier to perform and repeat.

This research is published Nano Letters (ACS publications)

Contaminated tap water and cancer

Researchers from Environmental Working Group conducted a cumulative assessment of cancer risk due to carcinogenic compounds found in drinking water. They used a novel analytical framework that calculated their combined health impacts. Results of the study showed that these substances would result in more than 100,000 cancer cases nationwide. Findings of the study are published in journal Heliyon.

In this study they utilized comprehensive nationwide dataset for contaminant occurrence in community water systems in the United States. This dataset contains water quality profiles for 48,363 community water systems. The dataset does not include water quality information on private wells .

Most of the increased cancer risk is due to contamination with arsenic, disinfection byproducts and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. Water systems with the highest risk tend to serve smaller communities and rely on groundwater. These communities often need improved infrastructure and resources to provide safe drinking water to their residents. However, large surface water systems contribute a significant share of the overall risk due to the greater population served and the consistent presence of disinfection byproducts.

This research highlights importance of much needed improvement in infrastructure to provide clean and safe drinking water.

Researchers in University of Warwickshire develop 2D mass spectrometry using Linear ion trap.

Professor Peter O’Connor and Dr Maria van Agthoven in the Department of Chemistry have invented a device which makes 2D mass spectrometry – an effective process for analysing and sequencing proteins. This could enable researchers and companies to produce data-driven results on how protein molecules function, more easily and cheaply. 2D mass spectrometry allows chemists to explore the elemental composition and structure of a molecule by breaking it apart, and analysing its fragmented pieces – measuring mass, and gathering data on how the whole molecule functions and interacts with its environment.

High numbers of molecules can be experimented on at the same time in this way, as the various fragments of different broken molecules can be modulated at the same frequencies as the molecule from which they originated. Professor O’Connor and Dr van Agthoven have patented an instrument with which 2D Mass spectrometry can be performed using a linear ion trap – this is a cheaper, smaller, and much more accessible option than was previously available. The device can be added onto existing MS instruments as well as being bought with new instruments.

Mass spectrometry produces precise results during protein sequencing, and this type of data-driven biology will produce quicker, better results than are currently obtained in pharmaceutical and biomedical research.

Dr van Agthoven comments that the breakthrough could have numerous and varied applications: “Two-dimensional mass spectrometry has the potential to exponentially increase our knowledge in all areas, from biochemistry to food safety and environmental chemistry.” Professor O’Connor is confident that this invention will change biomedical research dramatically: “2-Dimensional mass spectrometry in a simple and cheap linear ion trap will revolutionise proteomics and detailed characterisation of complex samples.”

Press release: Breakthrough in analytical sciences could lead to medical revolution