February 7, 2014

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Nanoparticle pinpoints blood-vessel plaques: A step toward identifying plaques vulnerable to rupture that causes heart attack and stroke. “By loading the surface with gadolinium ions instead of injecting them and letting them flow freely in the blood stream, the nanoparticle increases the relaxivity — or contrast from healthy tissue — by more than 10,000 times. That’s because the nanorod carries up to 2,000 molecules of the contrast agent, concentrating them at the plaque sites. Secondly, attaching the contrast agent to a nanoparticle scaffold reduces its molecular tumbling rates and leads to additional relaxivity benefit, the researchers explained. While the view is better, they are able to use 400 times less of the contrast agent because it’s delivered directly to plaques.”