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Amino Acid Templated Gold Nanoparticles as Sensors of Ionizing Radiation

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This research addresses the need for improvement in radiation sensors for applications of ionizing radiation such as radiotherapy. The current sensors involved are polymer gel dosimeters, MOSFETs, radio-chromic films, etc. Most of the sensors involved require expensive equipment's and processing

This research addresses the need for improvement in radiation sensors for applications of ionizing radiation such as radiotherapy. The current sensors involved are polymer gel dosimeters, MOSFETs, radio-chromic films, etc. Most of the sensors involved require expensive equipment's and processing facilities for readout. There is still a need to develop better sensors that can be clinically applied. There are numerous groups around the world trying to conceive a better dosimeter. One of the radiation sensors that was developed recently was based on fluorescence signal emitted from the sensor. To advance the field of radiation sensors, a visual indicator has been developed in-lab as a method of detect ionizing radiation. The intensity of change in color is directly dependent on the amount of incident ionizing radiation. An aqueous gold nanoparticle sensor can be used to accurately determine the incident amount of ionizing radiation1. A gold nanoparticle sensor has been developed in lab with the use of hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (C16TAB) as the templating molecule. In the presence of ionizing radiation, the colorless gold salt is reduced and templated, creating a dispersion within the fluid1. The formation of suspended nanoparticles leads to a color change that can be visually detected and accurately analyzed through the employment of a spectrometer. Unfortunately, the toxicity of C16TAB is high. It is expected the toxicity can be reduced by replacing C16TAB with an amino acid, as amino acids can act as templating molecules in the solution and many are naturally occuring2. The experiments included a screening of 20 natural amino acids and 12 unnatural amino acids with the gold salt solution in the presence of ionizing radiation. Stability and absorbance testing was conducted on the amino acid sensors. Additional screening of lead amino acid sensors at various concentrations of irradiation was conducted.

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2017-05

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Novel siloxane nanoprobes for molecular and cellular imagin

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Oxygen delivery is crucial for the development of healthy, functional tissue. Low tissue oxygenation, or hypoxia, is a characteristic that is common in many tumors. Hypoxia contributes to tumor malignancy and can reduce the success of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Oxygen delivery is crucial for the development of healthy, functional tissue. Low tissue oxygenation, or hypoxia, is a characteristic that is common in many tumors. Hypoxia contributes to tumor malignancy and can reduce the success of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. There is a current need to noninvasively measure tumor oxygenation or pO2 in patients to determine a personalized treatment method. This project focuses on creating and characterizing nanoemulsions using a pO2 reporter molecule hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) and its longer chain variants as well as assessing their cytotoxicity. We also explored creating multi-modal (MRI/Fluorescence) nanoemulsions.

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2013-05

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Formation of biomimetic membranes on inorganic supports of different surface morphology and macroscopic geometry

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Biological membranes are critical to cell sustainability by selectively permeating polar molecules into the intracellular space and providing protection to the interior organelles. Biomimetic membranes (model cell membranes) are often used to fundamentally study the lipid bilayer backbone structure of

Biological membranes are critical to cell sustainability by selectively permeating polar molecules into the intracellular space and providing protection to the interior organelles. Biomimetic membranes (model cell membranes) are often used to fundamentally study the lipid bilayer backbone structure of the biological membrane. Lipid bilayer membranes are often supported using inorganic materials in an effort to improve membrane stability and for application to novel biosensing platforms. Published literature has shown that a variety of dense inorganic materials with various surface properties have been investigated for the study of biomimetic membranes. However, literature does not adequately address the effect of porous materials or supports with varying macroscopic geometries on lipid bilayer membrane behavior. The objective of this dissertation is to present a fundamental study on the synthesis of lipid bilayer membranes supported by novel inorganic supports in an effort to expand the number of available supports for biosensing technology. There are two fundamental areas covered including: (1) synthesis of lipid bilayer membranes on porous inorganic materials and (2) synthesis and characterization of cylindrically supported lipid bilayer membranes. The lipid bilayer membrane formation behavior on various porous supports was studied via direct mass adsorption using a quartz crystal microbalance. Experimental results demonstrate significantly different membrane formation behaviors on the porous inorganic supports. A lipid bilayer membrane structure was formed only on SiO2 based surfaces (dense SiO2 and silicalite, basic conditions) and gamma-alumina (acidic conditions). Vesicle monolayer adsorption was observed on gamma-alumina (basic conditions), and yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) of varying roughness. Parameters such as buffer pH, surface chemistry and surface roughness were found to have a significant impact on the vesicle adsorption kinetics. Experimental and modeling work was conducted to study formation and characterization of cylindrically supported lipid bilayer membranes. A novel sensing technique (long-period fiber grating refractometry) was utilized to measure the formation mechanism of lipid bilayer membranes on an optical fiber. It was found that the membrane formation kinetics on the fiber was similar to its planar SiO2 counterpart. Fluorescence measurements verified membrane transport behavior and found that characterization artifacts affected the measured transport behavior.

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2011

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High-throughput platforms for tumor dormancy-relapse and biomolecule binding using aminoglycoside-derived hydrogels

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Relapse after tumor dormancy is one of the leading causes of cancer recurrence that ultimately leads to patient mortality. Upon relapse, cancer manifests as metastases that are linked to almost 90% cancer related deaths. Capture of the dormant and relapsed

Relapse after tumor dormancy is one of the leading causes of cancer recurrence that ultimately leads to patient mortality. Upon relapse, cancer manifests as metastases that are linked to almost 90% cancer related deaths. Capture of the dormant and relapsed tumor phenotypes in high-throughput will allow for rapid targeted drug discovery, development and validation. Ablation of dormant cancer will not only completely remove the cancer disease, but also will prevent any future recurrence. A novel hydrogel, Amikagel, was developed by crosslinking of aminoglycoside amikacin with a polyethylene glycol crosslinker. Aminoglycosides contain abundant amount of easily conjugable groups such as amino and hydroxyl moieties that were crosslinked to generate the hydrogel. Cancer cells formed 3D spheroidal structures that underwent near complete dormancy on Amikagel high-throughput drug discovery platform. Due to their dormant status, conventional anticancer drugs such as mitoxantrone and docetaxel that target the actively dividing tumor phenotype were found to be ineffective. Hypothesis driven rational drug discovery approaches were used to identify novel pathways that could sensitize dormant cancer cells to death. Strategies were used to further accelerate the dormant cancer cell death to save time required for the therapeutic outcome.

Amikagel’s properties were chemo-mechanically tunable and directly impacted the outcome of tumor dormancy or relapse. Exposure of dormant spheroids to weakly stiff and adhesive formulation of Amikagel resulted in significant relapse, mimicking the response to changes in extracellular matrix around dormant tumors. Relapsed cells showed significant differences in their metastatic potential compared to the cells that remained dormant after the induction of relapse. Further, the dissertation discusses the use of Amikagels as novel pDNA binding resins in microbead and monolithic formats for potential use in chromatographic purifications. High abundance of amino groups allowed their utilization as novel anion-exchange pDNA binding resins. This dissertation discusses Amikagel formulations for pDNA binding, metastatic cancer cell separation and novel drug discovery against tumor dormancy and relapse.

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2016

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Lead identification, optimization and characterization of novel cancer treatment strategies using repositioned drugs

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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and novel methods of treating advanced malignancies are of high importance. Of these deaths, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the second most fatal carcinomas in men and

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and novel methods of treating advanced malignancies are of high importance. Of these deaths, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the second most fatal carcinomas in men and women respectively, while pancreatic cancer is the fourth most fatal in both men and women. Developing new drugs for the treatment of cancer is both a slow and expensive process. It is estimated that it takes an average of 15 years and an expense of $800 million to bring a single new drug to the market. However, it is also estimated that nearly 40% of that cost could be avoided by finding alternative uses for drugs that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The research presented in this document describes the testing, identification, and mechanistic evaluation of novel methods for treating many human carcinomas using drugs previously approved by the FDA. A tissue culture plate-based screening of FDA approved drugs will identify compounds that can be used in combination with the protein TRAIL to induce apoptosis selectively in cancer cells. Identified leads will next be optimized using high-throughput microfluidic devices to determine the most effective treatment conditions. Finally, a rigorous mechanistic analysis will be conducted to understand how the FDA-approved drug mitoxantrone, sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis.

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2013

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Gold nanorod-based assemblies and composites: cancer therapeutics, sensors and tissue engineering materials

Description

Gold nanoparticles as potential diagnostic, therapeutic and sensing systems have a long history of use in medicine, and have expanded to a variety of applications. Gold nanoparticles are attractive in biological applications due to their unique optical, chemical and biological

Gold nanoparticles as potential diagnostic, therapeutic and sensing systems have a long history of use in medicine, and have expanded to a variety of applications. Gold nanoparticles are attractive in biological applications due to their unique optical, chemical and biological properties. Particularly, gold nanorods (GNRs) are increasingly used due to superior optical property in the near infrared (NIR) window. Light absorbed by the nanorod can be dissipated as heat efficiently or re-emitted by the particle. However, the limitations for clinical translation of gold nanorods include low yields, poor stability, depth-restricted imaging, and resistance of cancer cells to hyperthermia, are severe. A novel high-throughput synthesis method was employed to significantly increase in yields of solid and porous gold nanorods/wires. Stable functional nanoassemblies and nanomaterials were generated by interfacing gold nanorods with a variety of polymeric and polypeptide-based coatings, resulting in unique properties of polymer-gold nanorod assemblies and composites. Here the use of these modified gold nanorods in a variety of applications including optical sensors, cancer therapeutics, and nanobiomaterials were described.

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2012

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Influence of histone deacetylase inhibitors on polymer mediated transgene delivery

Description

The effects of specific histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) on transgene expression in combination with a novel polymer as a delivery vehicle are investigated in this research. Polymer vectors, although safer than viruses, are notorious for low levels of gene expression.

The effects of specific histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) on transgene expression in combination with a novel polymer as a delivery vehicle are investigated in this research. Polymer vectors, although safer than viruses, are notorious for low levels of gene expression. In this investigation, the use of an emerging chemotherapeutic anti-cancer drug molecule, HDACi, was used to enhance the polymer-mediated gene expression. HDACi are capable of inhibiting deacetylation activities of histones and other non-histone proteins in the cytoplasm and nucleus, as well as increase transcriptional activities necessary for gene expression. In a prior study, a parallel synthesis and screening of polymers yielded a lead cationic polymer with high DNA-binding properties, and even more attractive, high transgene expressions. Previous studies showed the use of this polymer in conjunction with cytoplasmic HDACi significantly enhanced gene expression in PC3-PSMA prostate cancer cells. This led to the basis for the investigation presented in this thesis, but to use nuclear HDACi to potentially achieve similar results. The HDACi, HDACi_A, was a previously discovered lead drug that had potential to significantly enhance luciferase expression in PC3-PSMA cells. The results of this study found that the 20:1 polymer:plasmid DNA weight ratio was effective with 1 uM and 2 uM HDACI_A concentrations, showing up to a 9-fold enhancement. This enhancement suggested that HDACi_A was effectively aiding transfection. While not an astounding enhancement, it is still interesting enough to investigate further. Cell viabilities need to be determined to supplement the results.

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2012

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Generation of macromolecule-templated gold nanoparticles by ionizing radiation

Description

Ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, are becoming more widely used. These high-energy forms of electromagnetic radiation are present in nuclear energy, astrophysics, and the medical field. As more and more people have the opportunity to be exposed

Ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, are becoming more widely used. These high-energy forms of electromagnetic radiation are present in nuclear energy, astrophysics, and the medical field. As more and more people have the opportunity to be exposed to ionizing radiation, the necessity for coming up with simple and quick methods of radiation detection is increasing. In this work, two systems were explored for their ability to simply detect ionizing radiation. Gold nanoparticles were formed via radiolysis of water in the presence of Elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) and also in the presence of cationic polymers. Gold nanoparticle formation is an indicator of the presence of radiation. The system with ELP was split into two subsystems: those samples including isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and acetone, and those without IPA and acetone. The samples were exposed to certain radiation doses and gold nanoparticles were formed. Gold nanoparticle formation was deemed to have occurred when the sample changed color from light yellow to a red or purple color. Nanoparticle formation was also checked by absorbance measurements. In the cationic polymer system, gold nanoparticles were also formed after exposing the experimental system to certain radiation doses. Unique to the polymer system was the ability of some of the cationic polymers to form gold nanoparticles without the samples being irradiated. Future work to be done on this project is further characterization of the gold nanoparticles formed by both systems.

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2012

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Preparation and svaluation of aminoglycoside-based nanogels and microgels for gene delivery and DNA binding

Description

Many therapeutics administered for some of the most devastating illnesses can be toxic and result in unwanted side effects. Recent developments have been made in an alternative treatment method, called gene therapy. Gene therapy has potential to rectify the genetic

Many therapeutics administered for some of the most devastating illnesses can be toxic and result in unwanted side effects. Recent developments have been made in an alternative treatment method, called gene therapy. Gene therapy has potential to rectify the genetic defects that cause a broad range of diseases. Many diseases, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and acquired immunodeficiency (AIDS) already have gene therapy protocols that are currently in clinical trials. Finding a non-toxic and efficient gene transfer method has been a challenge. Viral vectors are effective at transgene delivery however potential for insertion mutagenesis and activation of immune responses raises concern. For this reason, non-viral vectors have been investigated as a safer alternative to viral-mediated gene delivery. Non-viral vectors are also easy to prepare and scalable, but are limited by low transgene delivery efficacies and high cytotoxicity at effective therapeutic dosages. Thus, there is a need for a non-toxic non-viral vector with high transgene efficacies. In addition to the hurdles in finding a material for gene delivery, large-scale production of pharmaceutical grade DNA for gene therapy is needed. Current methods can be labor intensive, time consuming, and use toxic chemicals. For this reason, an efficient and safe method to collect DNA is needed. One material that is currently being explored is the hydrogel. Hydrogels are a useful subclass of biomaterials, with a wide variety of applications. This class of biomaterials can carry up to a thousand times their weight in water, and are biocompatible. At smaller dimensions, referred to as micro- and nanogels, they are very useful for many biomedical applications because of their size and ability to swell. Based on a previously synthesized hydrogel, and due to the advantages of smaller dimension in biomedical applications, we have synthesized aminoglycoside antibiotic based nanogels and microgels. Microgels and nanogels were synthesized following a ring opening polymerization of epoxide-containing crosslinkers and polyamine-containing monomers. The nanogels were screened for their cytocompatibilities and transfection efficacies, and were compared to polyethylenimine (PEI), a current standard for polymer-mediated transgene delivery. Nanogels demonstrated minimal to no toxicity to the cell line used in the study even at high concentrations. Due to the emerging need for large-scale production of DNA, microgels were evaluated for their binding capacity to plasmid DNA. Future work with the aminoglycoside antibiotic-based nanogels and microgels developed in this study will involve optimization of nanogels and microgels to facilitate in better transgene delivery and plasmid DNA binding, respectively.

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2014

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Poly(amino ether) based Polymeric and Nanoparticle Systems for Nucleic Acid Delivery and Bioimaging

Description

Gold nanoparticles have emerged as promising nanomaterials for biosensing, imaging, photothermal treatment and therapeutic delivery for several diseases, including cancer. We have generated poly(amino ether)-functionalized gold nanorods (PAE-GNRs) using a layer-by-layer deposition approach. Sub-toxic concentrations of PAE-GNRs were employed to

Gold nanoparticles have emerged as promising nanomaterials for biosensing, imaging, photothermal treatment and therapeutic delivery for several diseases, including cancer. We have generated poly(amino ether)-functionalized gold nanorods (PAE-GNRs) using a layer-by-layer deposition approach. Sub-toxic concentrations of PAE-GNRs were employed to deliver plasmid DNA to prostate cancer cells in vitro. PAE-GNRs generated using 1,4C-1,4Bis, a cationic polymer from our laboratory demonstrated significantly higher transgene expression and exhibited lower cytotoxicities when compared to similar assemblies generated using 25 kDa poly(ethylene imine) (PEI25k-GNRs), a current standard for polymer-mediated gene delivery. Additionally, sub-toxic concentrations of 1,4C-1,4Bis-GNR nanoassemblies were employed to deliver expression vectors that express shRNA ('shRNA plasmid') against firefly luciferase gene in order to knock down expression of the protein constitutively expressed in prostate cancer cells. The roles of poly(amino ether) chemistry and zeta-potential in determining transgene expression efficacies of PAE-GNR assemblies were investigated. The theranostic potential of 1,4C-1,4Bis-GNR nanoassemblies was demonstrated using live cell two-photon induced luminescence bioimaging. The PAE class of polymers was also investigated for the one pot synthesis of both gold and silver nanoparticles using a small library poly(amino ethers) derived from linear-like polyamines. Efficient nanoparticle synthesis dependent on concentration of polymers as well as polymer chemical composition is demonstrated. Additionally, the application of poly(amino ether)-gold nanoparticles for transgene delivery is demonstrated in 22Rv1 and MB49 cancer cell lines. Base polymer, 1,4C-1,4Bis and 1,4C-1,4Bis templated and modified gold nanoparticles were compared for transgene delivery efficacies. Differences in morphology and physiochemical properties were investigated as they relate to differences in transgene delivery efficacy. There were found to be minimal differences suggestion that 1,4C-1,4Bis efficacy is not lost following use for nanoparticle modification. These results indicate that poly(amino ether)-gold nanoassemblies are a promising theranostic platform for delivery of therapeutic payloads capable of simultaneous gene silencing and bioimaging.

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2014