Non-toxic multifunctional nanoparticles for imaging and drug delivery within the body are reported online in Nature Materials this week.
Michael Sailor and colleagues made porous silicon nanoparticles that can carry a drug payload. Once in the body, the progress and accumulation of the nanoparticles in tumours can be imaged optically. Finally, the particles degrade into benign components that are cleared from the body via the kidneys within a short timeframe.
Most nanoparticles with the inherent optical activity that enables them to be monitored in the body prove to be toxic, non-biodegradable or have toxic by-products. The non-toxicity of the nanoparticles made by this team brings the great potential for their use in treatment of diseases a step closer to reality.