Buckyballs could help fight allergies

From Nature:

Balls Soccer ball-shaped nanoparticles known as buckyballs may one day help to offer relief for allergy sufferers. Adapted buckyballs are capable of blocking the pathway mediating allergic responses in human immune cells, research has revealed.

Buckminsterfullerenes — spherical cages about 1-10 nanometres in size made up of 60 carbon atoms — have for years attracted interest from material scientists for their ability to make strong, lightweight materials with interesting electrical properties. But they could have medical uses too. It is known that buckyballs have a talent for mopping up reactive oxygen species called ‘free radicals’, which can play havoc with biological systems. “C60 has a very high electron affinity. It grabs electrons easily, so it can act to neutralise free radicals,” explains James Cross, a chemist researching fullerenes at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Previous studies have shown that buckyballs can be used to protect nerve cells, for example, from damaging oxygen species.

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