While studies have demonstrated that carbon nanotubes with certain molecular attachments can target specific cells in culture, researchers haven't known whether the tubes would show the same capability in live animals. Now, a team from Stanford University reports that these nanoparticles can target tumors in mice.
Xiaoyuan Chen, Hongjie Dai, and their colleagues used several imaging techniques, including positron emission tomography, to track the distribution of nanotubes injected into the tail veins of mice. The researchers wrapped the tubes with polymer chains and attached radioactive copper, for tracking purposes, and a sequence of three amino acids that targets certain tumor cells.
In the January Nature Nanotechnology, the group writes that tumor tissues were 15 times as likely to take up the nanotubes as nearby normal tissues were.