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Anticancer nanomaterials erupt to the surface. Leidenfrost effect makes the molecules in the liquid above behave in an exceptional way. Credit: Aalto University

Zinc peroxide nanoparticles produced by recreating underwater volcano conditions might be the latest tool in cancer therapies.

A team from Aalto University in Finland have developed the nanoclusters of zinc peroxide that can be utilized for cancer therapy against other diseases through both apoptotic and non-apoptotic mechanisms.

The researchers were able to create the size-tailored nanoclusters without using additional chemicals by taking advantage of the Leidenfrost effect—a physical phenomenon where a liquid, in near contact with a mass significantly hotter than the liquid’s boiling point, produces an insulating vapor layer keeping the liquid from boiling rapidly.

According to the study, 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.

“The dynamic underwater chemistry seen in nature is inspiring for the next generation of eco-friendly nanochemistry,” professor Mady Elbahri, said in a statement. “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 customized creation of nanoclusters of zinc peroxide,” he added. “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.”

Ramzy Abdelaziz, a postdoctoral researcher in Elbahri’s group and co-author of the study, said the research can lead to sustainable synthesis of monodispersed particles.

The material also acts as an oxygen supplier, enabling it to be exploited in a number of treatments for diseases induced 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, said in a statement.

The study was published in Nature Communications.

 

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