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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Liquid Ferrofluids: Solid Science For Possible Cancer Tumour Treatment

     With all things liquid in mind today, here's the link to  Science Friday's blog's picture of the week and text: Ferrofluids.




     The blog text, reproduced here, includes possible practical applications to directly targeting cancer tumours:

      "Magnets are pretty cool. The way they attract and repel—it’s like magic. But a liquid magnet? That’s even cooler. Called a ferrofluid, such a liquid is comprised of tiny magnetic particles between 10 and 15 nanometers wide suspended in a fluid. In the presence of a magnetic field, the material ebbs and flows according to where the field tells it to go. Instead of an amorphous puddle, it can pool into some funky, spikey shapes—making for some amazing pictures like the bizarrely beautiful one above."

       "This particular photo (above) shows a single drop of a ferrofluid that’s made from magnetic iron particles suspended in oil. To form that pattern, Felice Frankel, a photographer and researcher at MIT, placed a small, three-centimeter-wide drop on a glass slide. Underneath are seven round magnets—like the kind on your refrigerator—arranged so that six of them surround the last. Each magnet forces the particles in the liquid to align with the magnetic field, forming the spikes seen in the photo."



     "To add some color, Frankel inserted a yellow Post-It note in between the magnets and the slide. The image is part of an exhibition at the MIT Museum on communicating science through photography, which is showing from now through March 2016. (Frankel is also co-instructing a course on science photography.)"




     "Ferrofluids, though, have been around since the 1960s. And they don’t all just sit around, looking pretty. For example, they’re widely used as nearly frictionless seals to maintain a vacuum while still allowing for moving or rotating parts. Some computer hard drives, for instance, rely on a magnet to hold a ferrofluid seal in place, which keeps the disk protected in a clean, dust-free vacuum. Because the ferrofluid is liquid, the disk can spin freely with hardly any friction."

     "Understanding ferrofluids can also inform research into fighting diseases like cancer. No, doctors won’t be infusing patients with that black liquid. The idea is to inject magnetic nanoparticles that help deliver tumor-destroying drugs. Their movement through liquids like blood could be controlled by a magnetic field, similar to particles in a ferrofluid."

     "By targeting tumors directly, you can avoid collateral damage to healthy cells. (Cancer drugs tend to be quite nasty and can cause side effects.) But getting those particles to accumulate at the tumor isn’t easy. “That is the biggest challenge in nanomedicine today,” says Carlos Rinaldi, a professor of biomedical and chemical engineering at the University of Florida."

     "One potential way to deliver drugs is with tiny spherical containers called liposomes, which are made of the same stuff as a cell’s membrane. You can fill the liposomes with drugs and attach the nanoparticles on the outside. Once the liposomes reach a tumor, the doctor turns on a magnetic field, which flips the nanoparticles back and forth, like how a compass needle goes crazy when next to a magnet. All that motion generates heat, which melts the liposome and releases the drug."






     "Or, instead of riding in a liposome, the drug could chemically bind to the nanoparticles. The magnetically induced heat would then break that bond and unleash the drug. The heat itself could also help kill the tumor, as some drugs work better at higher temperatures."

     "Saving lives drives much of the research in ferrofluids, of course. Still, you can't discount their mesmerizing patterns and behaviors. After all, that’s what inspired Rinaldi to study ferrofluids in the first place. "The idea that you can use a magnet to manipulate a liquid—to me, that's just so cool," he says."

     And if you want to make your own ferro-fluid, here's 4-minute video:

Fun with Ferrofluids: Making Your Own

Let me know how it turns out; I don't want to see any more liquids right now,

Steph












32 comments:

  1. Looks like fun, but toner + oil sounds like a recipe for a big mess. I may be sensitive to such considerations after wrecking the carpet in our computer room last year. I decided to replace an old but still working hardwired ink-jet printer with a wireless networked one so my wife could print from her iPad. Unpacked the new printer, unplugged the old one & moved it to the floor, picked up the new one and was about to put it on the desk when I noticed a little puddle of toner on the desk. Which meant there was now a little puddle of toner on the carpet under the old printer. I should have just given up at that point, but I tried scrubbing and diluting it, which eventually caused it to leak through the floor to the ceiling of the room below.

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    1. I feel your pain, jan. I am sure you had no inkling such a thing was happening. . .

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    2. Well, I had the veggie oil, but no toner or rare earth magnet. (I tried to use some Isotoner gloves and this old rare earth CD. It didn't work.

      Too bad, because I was looking forward to making some spikey silver jell-o. Reminds me of the mercury we cupped in the palms of our hands during high school physics lab.

      I once worked for a carnival that was strapped for funds. We would only set up in cities with rivers running through them. We set up our combination Ferris wheel/waterwheel smack dab in the middle of the river rapids. The stronger the rapids the faster the ride!

      LegoFerroFluidWheel

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    3. Never held mercury in my hand in high school. Too busy measuring out DDT with a mouth pipette.

      If you're allergic to toner, you could end up with a ferrous wheal.

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    4. Yeah, we've taken the ferrous wheal/Ferris Bueller's Day Off jokes as far as we can perhaps.

      The rare earth CD was great, Lego.

      Did you really work for a carnival, Lego? I have some doubts.

      Any thoughts on the liposome delivery system?

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    5. Liposomes are already used in drug delivery systems (not involving ferrofluids or magnetic nanoparticles), as well as to hold tiny bubbles for ultrasound imaging contrast. Not sure how those nanoparticles will affect, say, the kidneys, but that's what lab rats are for. Of course, the same patients who can't use MRIs, like those with ferromagnetic implants, welders and machinists (they always have tiny bits of metal embedded in places you wouldn't want magnetic fields ripping them out) wouldn't be able to use ferrofluid liposomes.

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    6. Interesting, jan.

      Lego, I knew it! I figured either carnival or circus.

      Basement update: 1 dehumidifier, 14 air movers, and 1 air scrubber going. Carpet gone, pad gone, paneling gone, holes drilled in baseboard. All furniture up on blocks.

      My shop-vac could not handle all the moisture. Sigh: long orange shag '70's carpet in now in a haul away truck.

      Not covered by insurance. And, also, not covered for my neighbor who DOES have flood insurance.

      It can stop raining now for awhile.

      Ah, the joys of home ownership!


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    7. Interesting, jan.

      Lego, I knew it! I figured either carnival or circus.

      Basement update: 1 dehumidifier, 14 air movers, and 1 air scrubber going. Carpet gone, pad gone, paneling gone, holes drilled in baseboard. All furniture up on blocks.

      My shop-vac could not handle all the moisture. Sigh: long orange shag '70's carpet in now in a haul away truck.

      Not covered by insurance. And, also, not covered for my neighbor who DOES have flood insurance.

      It can stop raining now for awhile.

      Ah, the joys of home ownership!


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    8. Word Woman,
      Sorry to hear about flooded home. Hope you can salvage as much as possible, and dry out as soon as possible.

      A pretty heroic (heroineic?) in getting PEOTS posted this week!

      LegoWishingYouSunshineAndZephyrs

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    9. Thanks, Lego. Most of my most cherished books and photographs were upstairs. . .and the ones in the basement were mostly old textbooks and notes from college and grad school. I did find some long-forgotten kid artwork and a few photos.

      Very strange. . .but I miss that orange shag carpeting. I would not have guessed that!

      I do appreciate your sunny, warm wishes, Lego!

      Have you been through a flooded basement? Good way to cull a few things!


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    10. . . .or a silver lining to go with the orange shag. . .speaking colorfully, as we are, this week.

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    11. We had similar flooding during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Actually had to call the Fire Department to pump out our basement, which includes my wife's office. After that, we got French drains and a sump pump installed, which have worked well, it seems. You have my sympathy; it's no fun at all.

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    12. Sorry you had to go through that, jan. I never thought of calling the fire department. There's no way they could have pumped so many basements in Denver though.

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    13. Maybe if you dump some toner into your basement, you could suck it all up with a magnet....

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    14. From suck to stuck, I like it!

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    15. Word Woman,
      Twenty-nine months ago (February) I returned home from a visit in Wisconsin. I knew something was amiss when I opened my front door and was greeted with a chill in the indoor air. I entered the house and heard a faint rushing of wather. The rushing got louder as I approached the steps of my basement. When I reached the top of the steps I stopped in my tracks.

      A meter-deep-and-rising lake of water was forming in my basement. Bobbing on the surface were picnic coolers, seat cushions, a chest freezer, stereo speakers, plastic bottles, buckets, bins, a dehumidifier, a space heater – all the flotsam and jetsam of my downstairs storage system. It was like a live larger-than-life-scale version of David Letterman’s “Will it Float?” segment. (Most of my stored items did not float!)

      Not thinking clearly (even more so than normal) I descended the steps. Since the bottom four or five steps were submerged, I had to guess when to stop stepping down. Though I could hear the now-near-deafening rushing water, I didn’t bother to determine the source of the waterfall headwaters (a burst-open overhead pipe). After confirming that I had reached the floor, I waded in waist-deep water over to the fuse box. For some reason I thought cutting the power to the house would somehow be helpful.

      Before I began unscrewing fuses, however, a flash of reason hit me. Not knowing the location of the basement shut-off valve (I know now!), I waded back to the steps, ascended, ascertained the city utilities emergency number, and phoned it. After what seemed like an hour (actually 15 minutes) a service man came and located the underground shut-off valve in my yard. That stopped the bleeding. Then he lugged a heavy duty sump pump and large-gauge tubing down my basement steps and began siphoning the lake out the basement window into my yard.

      His theory was that my oil furnace died, causing my water pipes to freeze and rupture. My next water/sewage bi-monthly bill, normally about $40, was $800.

      In the triage that followed, I had to say farewell to scores of treasured books, photos and letters. But no loss of life. A confused Noosie cat, who returned with me from Wisconsin, remained upstairs, high and dry upstairs, only occasionally venturing to the threshold of the steps, then scurrying back to non-moistness. She was never a fan of the water.

      The silver lining? No loss of orange, shag, carpet to mourn.

      jan,
      I had no toner, but I did try tossing my Isotoner gloves into the lake, like throwing down the gauntlet to some moist foe. But all that happened was that they got soggy.

      LegoSoTheShagsAreWhatPlaysInPeoria/Pekin

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    16. That sounds very messy, Lego! Glad Noosie was unaffected back in the day.

      Had my leakage come from a burst pipe, my insurance would have covered it. Hoping yours did.

      Water Woman

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    17. Lego, do you have a prolegomenon to go with your above post?!

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    18. Let me think... Prolegomenons are normally sort of short, right?
      Nope, I don't have that. But I do have a prodaddylonglegomenon I could post.

      LegoGrimHarvestman

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    19. I 've always wondered where all the mommy long legs went.

      Prolegomenon is a great word and is new to me. Anything pro lego is ok by me.

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  2. Replies
    1. Saving the 6th extinction article for later.

      Yeah, the pope blew a lot of people away with that statement.

      CCR makes everything better. Well, that and hot, dry weather!

      Fun teaching Earthquakes this week with Jello and Brownies. They had great questions and big smiles. Just what the Dr. (or P.A.) ordered.

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    2. Bird and mammal extinctions accelerated rapidly since 1700-1800, according to the chart in the article. Vertebrate and invertebrate extinction accelerated more since 1800-1900. I did not see the article addressing why this was so. . .

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    1. So, is my hummingbird feeder good because is supports pollinating hummingbirds, or bad because it diverts them from pollinating plants? See, that's the bad thing about ecosystems, you push down here, and something pops up over there. Actually, at dozens of over theres. All I know is that between the CA drought and the beepocalypse, my beloved almonds seem doomed.

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    2. So true. So many over there's and heres.

      My friend has given up almonds and almond milk. . .

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    3. ^^^ auto correct -- there's is actually theres

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    1. OK, that's just weird. But, I tracked down the original article on which that piece was based, and it brings to mind a topic that is relevant to a blog dealing with science and writing. To wit, the differences among the various scientific disciplines in the delay between submission and publication of scholarly papers. That article was submitted for publication in March of last year; it was accepted in July, but not published until June, 2015. OK, the journal is Antiquity; no one's in a rush for the latest and greatest, I guess, but that's gotta be tough on people seeking tenure, trying to make a name for themselves, or just excited about 8 million dead dogs. I was surprised, when my son the economist first started publishing, how long the delay was in that field (long, but not that long). In the biomedical sciences, the publication cycle is very short, with a lot of publication being done on-line these days. I've never heard a really good explanation for why some of the social sciences tolerate (encourage?) such long publication delays. How are things in your field? Any thoughts on this?

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    2. "AAPG Bulletin" delays are even longer. I checked the June 2014 issue and found most articles had a timeline like this: Manuscript received November 21, 2012, provisional acceptance. June 12, 2013; revised manuscript received August 16, 2013; final acceptance October 31, 2013, actual publication JUNE 2014. So a typical article takes close to 20 months to get published! (Working in geologic time is no excuse, really.)

      When I edited the local geologic publication, "The Mountain Geologist" we usually turned an article around in 6-12 months (if the authors cooperated with the revisions time line.) We had fewer members and a lot less red tape. It was a quarterly publication, not a monthly like the "AAPG Bulletin."

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    3. New post on Southpaw Kangaroos is out there now!

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