Anticancer nanomaterials have been created by a team of researchers at Aalto University, Finland by simulating the volcano-induced dynamic chemistry of the deep ocean.
The novel technique enables developing nanoclusters of zinc peroxide in an environmentally friendly manner, without the use of extra chemicals. The as-synthesized zinc peroxide nanoparticles can be used as a treatment tool for cancer therapy and against other complex diseases.
The researchers have developed these size-tailored nanoclusters by utilizing the Leidenfrost effect. It is an event frequently seen in the kitchen while cooking. If water is dropped on a hot plate, droplets hover over the surface rather than making physical contact with it. In the Leidenfrost effect, a liquid near an object much hotter than the liquid's boiling point creates an insulating vapor layer, thus preventing the liquid from boiling speedily. Under special conditions in the lab or near volcano gates deep in the ocean, the vapor layer can cover a large region without rising away from the surface, while making the molecules in the liquid above act in an exceptional way.
The dynamic underwater chemistry seen in nature is inspiring for the next generation of eco-friendly nanochemistry. In this context, green synthesis of size-tailored nanoparticles in a facile and scalable manner via a dynamic process has not been introduced so far. We demonstrate the Leidenfrost dynamic chemistry occurring in an underwater overheated confined zone as a new tool for customised creation of nanoclusters of zinc peroxide. The hydrodynamic nature of the phenomenon ensures eruption of the nanoclusters towards a much colder region, giving rise to growth of monodisperse, size-tailored nanoclusters.
Professor Mady Elbahri at Aalto University.
"Our study can pave the way for sustainable synthesis of monodispersed particles," explains Ramzy Abdelaziz, a postdoctoral researcher at Elbahri's group and co-author of the research.
From a biomedical viewpoint, peroxides serve as an oxygen supplier and thus can be exploited in treatment of numerous types of diseases triggered by anaerobic and even cancerous cells.
Our nanoparticles have been investigated in terms of cytotoxic effect on suspension and adherent cells to prove their applicability as cancer nanotherapeutics.
Duygu Disci-Zayed, a former research group member
After having synthesized the monodispersed ZnO2 particles, the team performed a string of preliminary experiments to establish the impact of these nanoparticles on the cancer, as well as on the normal, healthy cells. According to their research, ZnO2 nanoparticles have the potential to destroy tumor cells by non-apoptotic and apoptotic mechanisms.
The research was published in Nature Communications.