Ultra-miniature bialy-shaped particles — called nanobialys because they resemble tiny versions of the flat, onion-topped rolls popular in New York City — could soon be carrying medicinal compounds through patients' bloodstreams to tumors or atherosclerotic plaques.
The nanobialys answered a need for an alternative to the research group's gadolinium-containing nanoparticles, which were created for their high visibility in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
Gadolinium is a common contrast agent for MRI scans, but recent studies have shown that it can be harmful to some patients with severe kidney disease.
"The nanobialys contain manganese instead of gadolinium," says first author Dipanjan Pan, Ph.D., research instructor in medicine in the Cardiovascular Division. "Manganese is an element found naturally in the body. In addition, the manganese in the nanobialys is tied up so it stays with the particles, making them very safe."
A bialy is a Polish roll like a bagel without a hole that can be made with different toppings.