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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 2, 2024
  2. One of the current challenges of working with nanomaterials in bioapplications is having a tool that is biocompatible (non-toxic) and produces stable, intense fluorescence for bioimaging.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 4, 2024
  3. Recently, nano-based cancer therapeutics have been researched and developed, with some nanomaterials showing anticancer properties. When it comes to cancer treatment, graphene quantum dots (GQDs) contain the ability to generate 1O2, a reactive oxidative species (ROS), allowing for the synergistic imaging and photodynamic therapy (PDT) of cancer. However, due to their small particle size, GQDs struggle to remain in the target area for long periods of time in addition to being poor drug carriers. To address this limitation of GQDs, hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (hMSNs) have been extensively researched for drug delivery applications. This project investigates the utilization and combination of biomass-derived GQDs and Stöber silica hMSNs to make graphene quantum dots-hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (GQDs-hMSNs) for fluorescent imaging and dual treatment of cancer via drug delivery and photodynamic therapy (PDT). Although the addition of hMSNs made the newly synthesized nanoparticles slightly more toxic at higher concentrations, the GQDs-hMSNs displayed excellent drug delivery using fluorescein (FITC) as a mock drug, and PDT treatment by using the GQDs as a photosensitizer (PS). Additionally, the GQDs retained their fluorescence through the surface binding to hMSNs, allowing them to still be used for cell-labeling applications. 
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  4. The advancing field of nanoscience has produced lower mass, smaller size, and expanded chemical composition nanoparticles over recent years. These new nanoparticles have challenged traditional analytical methods of qualification and quantification. Such advancements in nanoparticles and nanomaterials have captured the attention of toxicologists with concerns regarding the environment and human health impacts. Given that nanoparticles are only limited by size (1–100 nm), their chemical and physical characteristics can drastically change and thus alter their overall nanotoxicity in unpredictable ways. A significant limitation to the development of nanomaterials is that traditional regulatory and scientific methods used to assess the biological and environmental toxicity of chemicals do not generally apply to the assessment of nanomaterials. Significant research effort has been initiated, but much more is still needed to develop new and improved analytical measurement methods for detecting and quantitating nanomaterials in biological and environmental systems. 
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  5. Nanozymes are a class of artificial enzymes that have dimensions in the nanometer range and can be composed of simple metal and metal oxide nanoparticles, metal nanoclusters, dots (both quantum and carbon), nanotubes, nanowires, or multiple metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). They exhibit excellent catalytic activities with low cost, high operational robustness, and a stable shelf-life. More importantly, they are amenable to modifications that can change their surface structures and increase the range of their applications. There are three main classes of nanozymes including the peroxidase-like, the oxidase-like, and the antioxidant nanozymes. Each of these classes catalyzes a specific group of reactions. With the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, the variety of applications for nanozymes in diverse fields has expanded dramatically, with the most popular applications in biosensing. Nanozyme-based novel biosensors have been designed to detect ions, small molecules, nucleic acids, proteins, and cancer cells. The current review focuses on the catalytic mechanism of nanozymes, their application in biosensing, and the identification of future directions for the field. 
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    An ultrasensitive and versatile assay for biomarkers has been developed using graphene/gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) composites and single-particle inductively-coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (spICP-MS). Thrombin was chosen as a model biomarker for this study. AuNPs modified with thrombin aptamers were first non-selectively adsorbed onto the surface of graphene oxide (GO) to form GO/AuNPs composites. In the presence of thrombin, the AuNPs desorbed from the GO/AuNPs composites due to a conformation change of the thrombin aptamer after binding with thrombin. The desorbed AuNPs were proportional to the concentration of thrombin and could be quantified by spICP-MS. By counting the individual AuNPs in the spICP-MS measurement, the concentration of thrombin could be determined. This assay achieved an ultralow detection limit of 4.5 fM with a broad linear range from 10 fM to 100 pM. The method also showed excellent selectivity and reproducibility when a complex protein matrix was evaluated. Furthermore, the diversity and ready availability of ssDNA ligands make this method a versatile new technique for ultrasensitive detection of a wide variety of biomarkers in clinical diagnostics. 
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