In Huang’s nanoscience program, his team combines the multifaceted properties of carbohydrates with the unique functions of nanoparticles by immobilizing carbohydrates onto the external surface of magnetic nanoparticles. The magnetic glyco-nanoparticles (MGNPs) produced retain the biological recognition of carbohydrates and at the same time enhance the avidity of carbohydrate-receptor interactions by thousands of times. The magnetic nature of the nanoparticles enables us to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a non-invasive method for disease detection. An example of this is shown in Fig. 2, where the presence of atherosclerotic plaques (the major cause of heart attack and stroke) in rabbits can be easily detected by MRI after injection of the MGNPs. Besides detection and imaging applications, we are exploring the utility of MGNPs for targeted drug delivery. Huang found that by incorporating drugs onto MGNPs, the cytotoxicity of the drugs towards cancer cells can be significantly enhanced. The team continuing to develop magnetic glyco-nanoparticles for non-invasive detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
View a short presentation on Huang’s research: