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Separating Nanoparticles with New Technology

12/15/15     A new chip-based technology that can quickly isolate drug-carrying nanoparticles from the blood has been developed by a team of engineers at the University of California.
Nanoparticles are difficult to separate from the blood component because of their extreme low density and small size in comparison to blood plasma. Scientists generally separate them from blood plasma by diluting the plasma, adding a highly concentrated sugar solution and then spinning the mixture in a centrifuge. Unfortunately this process either alters the normal behavior of the nanoparticles or it can’t be applied to all types of nanoparticles.

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However, this new chip design overcomes these shortcomings and uses an oscillating electric field to separate drug-delivery nanoparticles from blood. The separated nanoparticles get accumulated on the ring of the chip. The chip contains hundreds of electrodes that generate the oscillating electric field. During the study, the researchers demonstrated the recovery of nanoparticles from a drop of plasma spiked with it. Science 2.0 reports that the recovery took place in 7 minutes and the technique seems to work on different types of drug-delivery nanoparticles commonly used.
Researchers are hopeful that this technology will enable them to design new drug-delivery systems and mechanisms. Plus, with the help of this technique, the researchers will also be able to monitor the movement of nanoparticles in the bloodstream.