Dr. André M. Gobin's Nanotherapeutics Laboratory
Gold Nanoshells can be used with laser energy to create localized heating. This energy can disrupt the cell membrane leading to cell ablation through a photo-thermal mechanism. The image showing bright spots on a dark cell show individual nanoshells bound to a cell due to a targeting ligand,demonstrating effective binding to the cell surface via membrane bound receptors.
The image with cuvettes show smaller nanoshells (left) scatter less energy than larger nanoshell particles (right) This behavior can be used to design nanoshells which are primarily absorbing (for therapy) or scattering(for imaging) or a combination of both to allow simultaneous imaging and therapy with a single particle..
The primary area of research in my lab is the use of near infrared (NIR) absorbing nanoparticles for uses including as a therapeutic agent directly, incorporation into drug delivery systems as well as in photo-mechanical transduction systems coupled into micro-fluidic devices. We are focused on nano-manufacturing techniques to allow scaleup of small (30-50 nm) self-assembled NIR absorbing nanoparticles with a gold layer on a gold-sulfide core. We are investigating surface modifications of these particles using polymer matrices to allow for sequestration of drugs which could be subsequently released upon heating delivering a large dose of the drug at a specified location. Additional surface modifications are being investigated to allow contrast enhancements for various imaging modalities including MRI, CT and Ultrasound.
Nanoshells are a composite nano-structure of a metal shell and dielectric core and have very unique optical properties. These properties can be manipulated by changing the thickness of the metal layer thus allowing absorption of light energy in the NIR region and leading to a myriad of applications in biomedical engineering. The absorption of light at a wavelength of 800 nm creates intense plasmon resonance on the gold shell and creates heat which can be used for directly affecting cells as we would use in cancer therapy to eliminate tumors. The absorption of light energy can also be used indirectly to allow many other types of applications including probing of molecules on the nanoparticles’ surface as well as for creating work.