A novel technology using quantum dots is expected to have major implications for research and treatment of tuberculosis, as well as other inflammatory lung diseases.
A paper appearing online in Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine describes specific delivery of a chemotherapeutic drug to specific cells in the lung, particularly the alveolar white cell, without causing acute inflammation.
Quantum dots are tiny semiconductor particles generally no larger than 10 nanometers that can be made to fluoresce in different colors depending on their size.
Scientists are interested in quantum dots because they are a superb carrier and last much longer than conventional dyes used to tag molecules, which usually stop emitting light in seconds.
“The ability to target specific cells in the lung without exposing surrounding cells and tissue or distant organs to the detrimental effects of drugs is an exciting avenue to explore,” says Krishnan V. Chakravarthy, a research fellow in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at University at Buffalo.