Public Release:  Photovoltaic medicine

Miniature solar cells might make chemotherapy less toxic

American Institute of Physics

WASHINGTON, D.C., (Oct. 19, 2010) -- Micro-scaled photovoltaic devices may one day be used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs directly to tumors, rendering chemotherapy less toxic to surrounding tissue.

"In the first step, we were able to prove the concept," says Tao Xu, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Texas in El Paso. Xu and his colleagues will present their findings today at the AVS 57th International Symposium & Exhibition, which takes place this week at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.

Currently, chemotherapeutic drugs are piped through an IV drip into the bloodstream, where they travel and come in contact with many organs on the way to their target. Patients are affected systemically, with toxic side effects that are well known. Ideally, clinicians would like to have a way to deliver these powerful drugs only where needed - to target them specifically to tumor tissue. Xu's device is designed to do just that - release drug only when stimulated by light, focusing it directly on a tumor during treatment. Near infrared or laser light is believed to penetrate tissues over 10 cm deep.

The novel device converts light into electric current. In an in vitro model system, positively or negatively charged "model" drugs were used to coated opposite sides of the miniature solar cell. Upon introduction of a light beam, one side of the device became positively charged, repelling the positive charged molecules the investigators had placed there, releasing them; the same thing happened with the negatively charged side and negative model molecules.

It appears that "our hypothesis will work," says Xu, adding that the amount of drug released can also be controlled by varying the intensity of light. The first phase employed an in vitro model; according to Xu, the next step for the work would be its application in small animal models.

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The presentation, "Release of Biomolecues from a Photovoltaic Device for Targeted Drug Delivery" is at 2:40 p.m. on Monday, October 18, 2010. ABSTRACT: http://www.avssymposium.org/Open/SearchPapers.aspx?PaperNumber=BI+MN-FrM-1

MORE INFORMATION FOR JOURNALISTS

The AVS 57th International Symposium and Exhibition is being held October 17-22, 2010, at the Albuquerque Convention Center, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The meeting includes more than 1,200 talks and posters presented in more than 130 technical sessions. All meeting information, including directions to the Convention Center, can be found at: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/

REGISTRATION -- Staff reporters and professional freelance journalists working on assignment are invited to attend the conference free of charge. Journalist registration instructions can be found at: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pdfs/pressinvite.pdf

PRESS ROOM

The AVS press room will be located in East Lobby of the Albuquerque Convention Center. Press room hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The phone number there is 408-205-0595. Press Kits containing company product announcements and other news will be available on CD-ROM in the press room. Also access the online press room at: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/press57.html

USEFUL LINKS

Complete Program: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/tech_program.html
Searchable abstracts: http://www.avssymposium.org/Open/SearchPapers.aspx
Topical Conferences: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/tech_topconf.html#EN
Meeting Home Page: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/

PLENARY SESSION

The plenary talk, "Carbon Nanotubes and Single Sheet Graphene," which will be at noon on Monday, October 18, 2010 in Ballroom B of the Albuquerque Convention Center. See: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/sessions_lecturer.html

SPECIAL TUTORIALS

AVS promotes communication, dissemination of knowledge, recommended practices, research, and education in a broad range of technologically relevant topics. One way that it does this is by offering special tutorials in areas such as:

- Graphene Tutorial (Sunday, October 17, 2010, 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

- Tutorial on Nanoparticle Characterization and Toxicity: Significant Challenges and Critical Needs (Sunday, October 17, 2010, 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

To access the complete descriptions of these special tutorials, see: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/special_tutorials.html

ABOUT AVS

As a professional membership organization, AVS fosters networking within the materials, processing, and interfaces community at various local, national or international meetings and exhibits throughout the year. AVS publishes four journals, honors and recognizes members through its prestigious awards program, offers training and other technical resources, as well as career services.

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