Commonly used in antimicrobial coatings and wound dressings, silver is a ubiquitous element in medical device applications. However, cytotoxicity concerns have accompanied the precious metal’s emergence as a medical device material. Although much remains to be known about the human and environmental impact of silver ions in medical device applications, researchers at Yeditepe University (Istanbul, Turkey) have demonstrated that the potential risks of silver nanoparticles can be reduced by modifying their surface with a biological ligand.
According to an article in Nanowerk, Mustafa Culha, a professor that leads the Nanobiotechnology Group at Yeditepe University, comments that this ligand reduces the cytotoxic, genotoxic, necrotic, and apoptotic effects in healthy human dermal fibroblast (HDF) cells. In addition, the study contributes to the existing knowledge that modified silver nanoparticles play a protective role by causing different p53 gene–related cell death effects in HDF and adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial A549 cells. The researchers conclude that the modified silver nanoparticles could perhaps be used to develop novel methods for selective killing of cancerous cells.
The scientists hope that their research may contribute to the development of novel therapies utilizing modified silver nanoparticles. "However, the current level of understanding of the interaction between nanomaterials and living systems is not enough to make general statements, and we need a bigger effort by researchers around the world to clarify these,” Culha remarks.