Utilising atomic force microscopy for the characterisation of nanoscale drug delivery systems.
With the advent of the atomic force microscope (AFM), the study of biological samples has become more realistic because, in most cases, samples are not covered or fixed, which makes it possible to observe them while the cells are alive. This advantage of the AFM allowed the advent of a new invention: nanobiosensors using the cantilever (probe) of the AFM and, in this case, it is possible to observe the entering or exiting of specific molecules (including medications) from living cells. This is the smallest biosensor in the world, measuring about 100 microm long (about the width of a hair). Beyond sensing the area of interest with this biosensor, it is also possible to see the area and exactly what is occurring on it, in real time. This new tool will be very useful for several areas: molecular pharmacology, enzymology, physiology, molecular biology, biotechnology, biophysics, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry. This article discusses, mainly, the applications of this new technique to the field of pharmacology.