The project is explained to us by Senior Research Consultant of the Bionanotechnology Virtual Lab Elvira Rozhina who received funding from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research for this work.
“Our group is tasked with creating a cytoprotective frame for human cells. For this we use halloysite nanotubes – an aluminosilicate multilayered nanotube with internal cavity diameter of about 50 nm and 1 mcm in length, - says Ms. Rozhina. – Plants have very resistant cell walls, but mammals don't. Current technological level allows us to use different nanomaterials and polymers to create protective frames”.
If a cell is protected by a «shield» that doesn't hinder its nutrition, its life cycle can be prolonged. Furthermore, a protected cell can be used for stress tests that were previously inviable. In the future, as researchers suggest, direct loading of medications or amino acids into the halloysite cavity will be possible.
“It is known that compounds from halloysite cavities are released very slowly. We and our American colleagues have experimented with loading brilliant green into cavities. This loading increases the time of full dissolution of the colorant to 80 hours. The forming of the insoluble complex of copper (II) and benzotriazole on the surfaces of nanotubes led to the increase in dissolution time or its full cessation. This leads to a number of potential applications of halloysite for nanoframes of mammal cells”, she adds.
The employees of the Bionanotechnology Lab will soon present their results at a conference in France and in a publication.