Medical Buckyballs

Posted on November 2, 2006  Comments (0)

Secret’s in the stuffing – Researchers fill ‘buckyballs’ with metals in hopes they’ll have medical applications

Virginia Tech has been stuffing hollow buckyballs, or fullerenes, with metals in hopes they could someday be used as contrast agents for imaging or tracing cancer cells.

Nobel laureate and co-discoverer Harold Kroto of Florida State University, who worked out the structural rule that the buckyegg violates, learned of Virginia Tech’s pursuit of buckyballs for pharmaceutical and medical applications during a visit to Blacksburg this month.

“It’s very exciting,” he said, joking that he’d been about ready to give back his Nobel because no one had found humanitarian uses for buckyballs until now.

The buckyegg is the latest from Virginia Tech, where in 1999 Harry Dorn and a team of chemists created the first buckyballs made with a shell of 80 carbon atoms and three metal atoms stuffed inside.

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