Profs. Sei Kwang Hahn and Chulhong Kim Exhibit the Safety of Biodegradable Photonic Melanoidin for Theranostic Applications
Light-absorbing nanoparticles for localized heat generation in tissues have various biomedical applications in diagnostic imaging, surgery, and therapies. Although numerous plasmonic and carbon-based nanoparticles with strong optical absorption have been developed, their clearance, potential cytotoxicity, and long-term safety issues remain unresolved.
Prof. Sei Kwang Hahn (Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering) showed that melanoidins offered a high light-to-heat conversion efficiency, biocompatibility, biodegradability, non-mutagenicity, and efficient renal clearance for biomedical photonic applications in collaboration with Prof. Chulhong Kim (Dept. of Creative IT Engineering) and Dr. Min-Young Lee from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.
Melanoidin is an anti-oxidant component of various foods such as coffee, dried fruit, bean paste, and soy sauce. As a biomimetic approach, melanoidin was synthesized by non-enzymatic Maillard reaction of glucose and glycine at body temperature and biological pH, avoiding the formation of cytotoxic and mutagenic compounds.
Prof. Hahn and coworkers exhibited a wide range of biomedical applications of melanoidins, including in vivo photoacoustic mapping of sentinel lymph nodes, photoacoustic tracking of gastro-intestinal tracts, photothermal cancer therapy, and photothermal lipolysis.
This is the first report on biophotonic applications of the biodegradable theranostic agent of melanoidin. Especially, melanoidin can be one of the best contrast agents for gastro-intestinal tract imaging as a component of foods. It can be safely degraded and excreted from the body after biophotonic applications.
Prof. Hahn mentioned that this work would contribute greatly to the field of nanomaterials for theranostic applications using photoacoustic systems. This research was funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Korea and published in ACS Nano, one of the most prestigious journal in the field of nano science.
Prof. Hahn’s laboratory is actively working on the development of various nanomaterials for biomedical applications. Recently, Prof. Hahn received the Korean President Award in the Korea Invention Patent Exhibition 2015.