The specific nature of the nano-bio interaction allows mechanistic understanding of the chemistry in the cellular interior. Such chemistries play a key role in translating knowledge from the fundamental research to the clinical stage. While engineered nanoparticles display biological response as a function of their chemical composition, the exact nature of these effects (e.g. dissolution) can vary between different biological systems. ZnO nanoparticles (a model example) having inherent dissolution property were re-engineered via Fe doping (1-10%) in the gas phase using flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) to efficiently tune particle dissolution, resulting in significant differences in their biological behavior both in the normal and cancer cells.
The silico analysis of the data obtained from cultured cells, syngeneic tumor models and metastasis formation, indicated 2% Fe-doped ZnO was optimal to cause selective cancer cell apoptosis. Further, 3D bioluminescence imaging was performed with 2%Fe doped ZnO NPs to evaluate the potential occurrence of metastases, derived from highly metastatic tumor type KLN 205 cells. The data showed peritumoral administration of the nanoparticles resulted in a local higher level free Zn2+ that impeded tumor growth as well as reduced metastasis formation. In summary, the data showed ZnO based nanoparticle system could be a potential material for the next generation therapeutics.