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Maurizio Prato



Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Food and Agriculture Science Building(2)

Office: 2A84

Telephone: 4677122

Project Title

Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticles Decorated Carbon Based Nanostructures for Biomedical Applications.

Project Summary

Nanomedicine is a field of research that addresses medical problems, for example, through disease diagnosis and treatment using nanoscale materials. Nanoscale materials for cancer diagnosis and therapy have evolved rapidly. Owing to the ability to control the size and functionality of nanoparticles, their applications in cancer therapy are increasing. Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, often leading to death. The burden of cancer is increasing in economically developing countries as a result of population aging and growth and the adoption of cancer-associated lifestyle choices, including smoking, physical inactivity, and “westernized” diets. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a total of 12.7 million new cancer cases and 7.6 million deaths from cancer were estimated worldwide in 2008.

Nanoparticles with 1–100 nm in dimension are attractive as therapeutic and imaging agents in oncology due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Noble metal nanoparticles are versatile agents for diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, inorganic nanoparticles are suitable for contrast agents for imaging include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound and optical imaging. Metal nanoparticles exhibit strong surface plasmon resonance (SPR) that depends on particle size and relative distance between particles; it may be used for combined imaging and photothermal therapy of cancerous cells. Currently, carbon based nanostructures including carbon nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes and graphene are versatile tool box in nanomedicine applications, especialy in cancer diagnosis and therapy. Due to diverse surface chemistry and unique thermal properties, carbon based nanostructures can act as strong optical absorbers in the near infrared light. Hence, they have been used for photothermal ablation of tumors.