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Blood Brothers: Particles Form Strong Bonds in Blood Vessels

Functionalized nano- and microscale particle systems have become a key component in biomedical applications, from drug delivery to prosthetics. Their small size and potential for modification and functionalization make them ideal for performing specific tasks within the human body.

In their latest work, reported in the materials science journal Advanced Materials, Professor Joerg Lahann and his team at the University of Michigan utilize this system to synthesize dual-compartment, biologically compatible polymer particles with the ability to selectively self-associate with human endothelial cells, found in the lining of blood vessels. When the particles were incubated with these cells, they displayed a strongly specific binding pattern—one hemisphere exhibited strong affinity to the cell surface, while the other had almost none. The explanation? One of the compartments had been modified with the protein streptavidin, which interacts strongly within biological systems. This selective functionalization resulted in spatial control at the cellular level; as only one side of each particle was attracted to the cells, they formed into layers, just one particle thick, on the cell surface.

Run time: 3.01 mins

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