oward a urine
st for detecting
ecting dangerous blood clots,
ch can cause life-threatening condi-s such as strokes and heart attacks,
been a coveted and elusive goal. But
ntists are now reporting progress in the form of
mple urine test. Their study, in which they dem-trated that the test works using laboratory mice,
ears in the journal ACS Nano.
lood clots — clumps of platelets and fibrin proteins — can threaten
oke off blood flow and lead to a wide range of serious and somes fatal conditions, including atherosclerosis and stroke.
sually, blood clots are a good thing. They form a plug that stops the
ding after an injury. But sometimes a clot forms when it really isn’t
ed, such as when a person sits too long on a long-distance flight
develops deep-vein thrombosis. In that case, a clot forms in the leg,
ing blood flow and causing leg pain. But it also can dislodge and
e throughout the body to the heart or even the brain, which is life-atening. Diagnosing a blood clot, or thrombosis, is tricky, however,
current clinical tests aren’t always reliable. Sangeeta Bhatia’s team
ed to develop a simple and more reliable way to test for these
uctive blood clots.
hey describe development and testing of synthetic biomarkers —
made materials for detecting what is going on in the body. They
ugated peptides onto the surface of nanomaterials that are similar
ose already approved and used in clinical settings. They injected the
materials into mice. The peptides break up if a blood clot is actively
ing, and those peptide fragments were detected in a simple urine
“Our results demonstrate that synthetic biomarkers can be engi-ed to sense vascular diseases remotely from the urine and may
w applications in point-of-care diagnostics,” the researchers state.
ead more about the research: “Nanoparticles That Sense Thrombin
ity as Synthetic Urinary Biomarkers of Thrombosis,” ACS Nano,
, 7 ( 10), pp 9001–9009.
Making a common cosmetic
and sunblock ingredient safer
Using a particular type of titanium dioxide (TiO2) — a
common ingredient in cosmetics, food products, toothpaste, and sunscreen— could reduce the potential
health risks associated with the widely used compound.
The report on the substance appears in the ACS journal
Chemical Research in Toxicology.
TiO2 is generally considered a safe ingredient in commercially available
skin products because it doesn’t penetrate healthy skin. However, research
has shown that TiO2 can cause potentially toxic effects when exposed to
ultraviolet light, which is in the sun’s rays. To design a safer TiO2 for human
use, the researchers tested different forms of the compound, each with its
They tested TiO2 powders on pig skin with indoor light-
ing, which has low ultraviolet light. They discovered that
rutile, one of the two most commonly used crystalline
forms of TiO2, easily washes off and has little
effect on skin. Anatase, the other commonly used
form, was difficult to wash off and damaged the
outermost layer of skin even in low ultraviolet
light. The findings strongly encourage the use of
rutile to produce safer TiO2-based cosmetic and
Read more about the research: “
Crystalline Phase Modulates the Potency of Nano-metric TiO2 to Adhere and Perturb the
Stratum Corneum of Porcine Skin under
Indoor Light,” Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2013, 26
( 10), pp 1579–1590.
COMPILED BY CHRIS ZEIGLER
Source: ACS Office of Public Affairs Weekly Press Pac, www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom.html
Spraying a plant hormone on broccoliboosts
its cancer-fighting potential, and researchers
say they have new insights on how that works.
They published their findings, which could
help scientists build an even better, more
healthful broccoli, in ACS’s Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Eating broccoli regularly has been linked to lower
rates of prostate, colon, breast, lung, and skin cancers.
In this superfood, glucosinolates (GSs) and the sub-
stances that are left when GSs are broken down can
boost the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens.
One way to increase GSs is to spray the plant hormone methyl jasmonate
on broccoli. To determine which GSs and their products actually boost the
enzyme levels when broccoli is treated, researchers tested five commercial
types of broccoli by spraying them in the field with the hormone. They
found that sulforaphane is the major contributor toward enhanced cancer-fighting enzyme levels, although other substances also likely contribute.
Environmental conditions played a role, too. This information could be used to identify superior broccoli and to
breed even more healthful broccoli plants.
Read more about the research: “Influence of Seasonal Variation and Methyl Jasmonate Mediated
Induction of Glucosinolate Biosynthesis on Quinone Reductase Activity in Broccoli Florets,” J. Agric.