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Plasmonic Nanomaterials for Tissue Sealing and Radiation Sensing

Kaushal Rege, PhD

Plasmonic nanoparticles (e.g. gold or silver nanoparticles) can efficiently absorb and scatter incident light, which makes them useful in biological imaging and as therapeutics. In this presentation, I will discuss the use of plasmonic nanoparticles in tissue sealing and radiation sensing. Plasmonic nanoparticles, including gold and silver nanoparticles, were incorporated within collagen, silk, and / or elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) matrices, leading to the formation of laser-activated tissue-integrating sealants (LATIS). Laser irradiation of these materials facilitated a photothermal response, which, in turn, resulted in rapid, fluid-tight sealing of ruptured intestinal tissue ex-vivo and incised skin in live mice. LATIS materials resulted in significant recoveries of tissue mechanical properties including tensile strength, leak pressure and burst pressure following rapid sealing. In addition, laser activation facilitates release of drugs encapsulated in these LATIS materials, indicating their potential in drug delivery.
As a second application, we used the colorimetric properties of gold nanoparticles as indicators of ionizing radiation at doses used in clinical radiotherapy. Irradiation of colorless gold salts and templating molecules with high-energy photons (X-rays) resulted in the formation of gold nanoparticles which rendered a visible color change to the liquid dispersion or an encapsulating gel. The intensity of the color formed was a function of the radiation dose employed, and was used to calibrate this nanoscale dosimeter. Recent studies indicate that this approach can be employed to detect radiation doses delivered to certain regions in a spatially resolved manner, which opens up possibilities to detect “hot spots” in tissues. The efficacy of this novel dosimetry system was evaluated using clinical anthropomorphic phantoms. Our studies demonstrate that plasmonic nanoparticles can offer transformative solutions for several applications in light-triggered drug delivery, tissue sealing and repair, and radiation sensing.

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