Encapsulation of Radioisotopes in Carbon Nanocages for BioMedical Applications
Abstract Encapsulation of Radioisotopes in Carbon Nanocages for BioMedical Applications Technology ID: #23017 Investigator: Prof. Boris Yakobson
Delivery of radioactive isotopes to specific targets in the body is important in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of diseases. Major problems with radiopharmaceuticals, however, are the chemical reactivity of these compounds, and the relatively high level of toxicity they possess. One approach to dealing with these problems is to encapsulate radiopharmaceuticals inside fullerene �nanocages� composed of pure carbon. This prevents the radioactive material from chemically reacting within the body without preventing the desired emission of radiation. Unfortunately, the energy required to project materials through the walls of fullerenes is prohibitive, resulting in poor yields of encapsulated materials. To address these problems, researchers at Rice have developed a method for chemically modifying nanocages which reduces the amount of energy required for encapsulation. Rice researchers have fluorinated carbon nanocages as an efficient path to facilitate synthesis of encapsulated radioisotope complexes. The method is based on the observation that fluorinating the exteriors of nanocages makes it easier for excited atoms and molecules to �punch� their way through the nanocage wall. Using this method, nanocage substrates are first fluorinated, significantly reducing the energy required for entry of ions, atoms, or molecules being used as radiopharmaceuticals. The nanocage can then be defluorinated if desired, followed by functionalization of the nanocage to create the desired tissue specificity or drug-delivery characteristics. This technology allows for the development of novel radiopharmaceuticals with enhanced safety characteristics and tissue specificity. Rice University is currently seeking a partner with experience in the drug delivery or radiopharmaceutical field to bring this technology to market.
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