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Rice UniversityCBEN
Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology

SWNT for Biomedical Applications

EUS Probe for Pancreatic Cancer

Endoscopic ultra sound probe for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The probe allows for ultrasound-guided, direct injection of therapeutic agents into the pancreatic tumor (Curley 2001).
The continuing goals of the Bio-SWNT project are to understand the interaction between single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and biological media and to define how SWNTs can bring value and new technology to the detection and treatment of disease. The present work builds on earlier CBEN efforts. For example, we were among the first to report methods for water-solubilizing SWNT materials for biological and medical applications and the first to discover a spectroscopic technique (near-IR fluorescence) for tracking pristine SWNTs in cells and a magnetic resonance technique (magnetic resonance imaging) for real-time tracking of Gd3+-SWNT materials in animal models. The covalent attachment of polyethyleneimine (PEI) to the sidewalls of SWNTs was achieved via the reaction of fluorinated SWNTs (F-SWNTs), with branched PEI of various molecular weights, in the presence of pyridine. The product, PEI-SWNT, was characterized by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), solid state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Raman spectroscopy. The PEI-SWNTs displayed aqueous solubility of up to 0.4 mg/mL and over a pH range of 2 - 9. Studies demonstrate the ability of PEI-SWNTs to be loaded with small molecules, including various alcohols and acids, via hydrogen bonding. Our goal is to use a PEI-SWNT-agent complex for the treatment of pancreatic cancer by direct injection to the malignant site and controlled release of the therapeutic agent via sonication. The electronic structure of the PEI-SWNTs will also be evaluated to determine if the complex displays the property of local heating by exposure to a RF field allowing for the complex to serve as a dual therapeutic in the treatment of cancer.

Participating Researchers: