Russian scientists have created nanoparticles that selectively kill bacteria

© Fotolia / Kateryna_KonНаночастицы in the bloodRussian scientists have created nanoparticles that selectively kill bacteria© Fotolia / Kateryna_Kon

. Biophysics of Russia and Ukraine have developed an unusual nanoparticles, destroying the germs when exposed to light, while not damaging the cells of animals and fungi, according to a paper published in the journal JPPB: Biology.

«Our findings not only suggests that the nanoparticles of tungsten oxide can be used in medicine, but also indicate that they need to very careful when you use in everyday life and in medical practice» — written by Anton Popov, a biophysicist from the Institute of theoretical and experimental Biophysics RAS, Pushchino, and his colleagues.

In recent years, foreign and Russian scientists are increasingly trying to apply different nanoparticles to combat cancer, infectious diseases or for the treatment of non-communicable diseases.

Sometimes the nanoparticles themselves provide a means for removal of the tumor or «killers» of microbes and viruses, acting as a kind of «target», which are induced or immune cells, or the laser radiation heats the particles and burning cells.

In other cases, nanoparticles are the only means of delivering toxic molecules to the tumor or site of infection, which limits their effect and reduce the dose needed for complete destruction of pathogens. Typically, these nanoparticles are composed of organic compounds «invisible» to the immune system.

Popov and his colleagues for several years studying the properties of nanoparticles of oxides of various metals having unusual properties. For example, two years ago they found out that nanoparticles of cerium, a rare earth metal, and protects people and animals from radiation and stimulate the growth of stem cells.

Recently, scientists from ITEB RAS and their colleagues from other institutes and the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine started to study the properties of nanoparticles of tungsten oxide, a substance with strong antibacterial properties. These properties are related to the fact that during the interaction with the light tungsten oxide is heated and produces a large amount of aggressive molecules, if it is in water or in another liquid medium.

Biophysics is sufficient have noticed that reducing the size of the particles of the oxide significantly enhances his «assassin» quality. This gave them the idea to create nanoparticles of tungsten oxide and check how they will interact with different cultures of pathogenic microbes, fungi, and animal cells.

These experiments revealed the unusual selectivity of these nanoparticles, useful from the practical point of view. As it turned out, they were killing microbes, even at very low concentrations, much less act on connective tissue cells of mice, and have little influence on the life of cultures of fungi.

«Apparently, this is due to morphological features of their cell membranes and different metabolism,» — said Popov, whose words the press service of ITEB RAS.

More importantly, these nanoparticles are much easier to penetrate inside the cancer cells than in healthy tissue of the human body that allows the use of small doses of oxide of tungsten, harmless to the body, for the «burning» of tumors and the simultaneous receipt of their photos.

On the other hand, large quantities of these nanoparticles can harm a person. Therefore, as scientists, they need very carefully used in medicine, and in everyday life, for example, during the disinfection of premises or the establishment of bactericidal films for «smart» Windows and other electronic gadgets.