We have discovered a new class of nanoparticle made of plasma, the same substance that makes up lightning, our galaxy and the sun. They are so tiny that up to a billion can fit on the head of a pin.
Nanoparticles can be used as carriers for drugs, genes and other biological agents, which can then be targeted at specific cells for treatment of patients. But progress in this highly promising field has stalled due to limitations of the current commercially available products. Our patented nanoparticles (Australian Provisional Patent no. 2016905306) overcome many of the limitations of current products. They come fully formed out of plasma reactors, in a cheap, scalable manufacturing process. They are easy to load with bioactive substances – just 5-minute incubation in water is all that is required.
We have shown high doses to be safe in human cell culture and in biosafety studies in mice. Our first paper describing the platform is published in ACS Applied Nano Materials (Santos et al, 2018) and represents an important milestone in the technology development. As a platform, it could be customised to deliver treatment for any health condition, from heart disease to cancer and beyond.
The work is a collaboration with Prof Marcela Bilek (School of Physics, The University of Sydney).