Development of dual diagnostic and therapeutic agents for cancer with heightened sensitivity, selectivity, and lower toxicity could greatly enhance the prognosis of patients suffering from this disease. Recent work by Dr. Harry Dorn of Virginia Tech has resulted in the creation of a novel nanostructure called a carbon nanotube peapod. This structure consists of multiple TNT EMF’s (Trimetallic nitride template endohedral metallofullerenes) contained within a single-walled carbon nanotube (CNT) in the form of a peapod. Using TNT EMFs containing gadolinium, this nanostructure can achieve a 40-fold improvement in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast enhancement [1]. The CNT component of the peapod can be utilized as a hyperthermia enhancer [2] and an effective platform for drug delivery [3]. This study focuses on the use of carbon nanotube peapods (CNT peapods) to absorb near infrared light and generate therapeutic heat for tumor destruction. With sufficient heating and nanoparticle targeted delivery to tumor cells, CNT peapods can potentially induce selective hyperthermia-mediated toxicity in tumors.

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