Korea University Develops Iron Oxide Nanoparticle


South Korean research team has developed iron oxide nanoparticle that emits light from inside of a cell. It is expected that this nanoparticle will increase possibility of cancer treatment without surgeries as it can be utilized for ‘photothermal treatment’.

Research team led by Professor Kim Young-geun of Korea University announced on the 15th that it has developed iron oxide photothermal material that allows one to check location of photothermal treatment in real-time as there is fluorescent light coming out of a cell.

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This iron oxide photothermal material can be used for photothermal treatment. This treatment transfers nanoparticle to areas with cancer cells and kills cancer cells with heat that occurs from shining near-infrared ray laser. It has lower chance of side effects unlike current cancer treatments.

This treatment needs photothermal material that provides heat by reacting to light. Until now, research teams have studied gold nanoparticle as it easily provides heat when it reacts to visible ray or near-infrared ray. However its effect is low at low intensity of illumination and it has low stability at higher temperature.

Iron oxide nanoparticle is now seen as a new photothermal material. Research team succeeded in inducing photothermal effect of iron oxide nanoparticle by shining near-infrared ray laser. New polymer structure that emits light was also formed around nanoparticle as soon as there was heat.

Even when it induced photothermal effect by having a cell absorb nanoparticle, there was fluorescent light. Organic matter within a cell played a role of a polymer. Intensity of fluorescent light can also be adjusted depending on intensity of laser and concentration and size of nanoparticle. As nanoparticle became bigger and more concentrated, intensity of fluorescent light became stronger.

Luminescence of complex of iron oxide nanoparticle and polymer

Luminescence of complex of iron oxide nanoparticle and polymer

“When iron oxide nanoparticle is applied to photothermal treatment, doctors can see location where treatment is happening in real-time.” said Professor Kim Young-geun. “We have presented a possibility of photothermal treatment in order to pioneer new non-surgical fields.”

Result of this research was published on an international scientific journal called ‘Small’. This research was carried out by support from Ministry of Science and ICT and National Research Foundation of Korea’s Nano-Material Fundamental Technology Development Project.

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Staff Reporter Song, Junyoung | songjy@etnews.com

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