Sticky nanoparticles fight heart disease (w/ video)

Feb 18, 2014

Clemson University researchers have developed nanoparticles that can deliver drugs targeting damaged arteries, a non-invasive method to fight heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of the standard ways to treat clogged and damaged currently is to implant vascular stents, which hold the vessels open and release such drugs as paclitaxel.

The researchers, led by Clemson bioengineering professor Naren Vyavahare, hope their advanced could be used alongside stents or in lieu of them.

"Healthy arteries have elastic fibers that provide elasticity. They are like rubber bands in the tissue that allow expansion and recoil during blood flow," Vyavahare said. "In most cardiovascular diseases, in arteries get damaged, creating hooks that can be used to target drugs."

The nanoparticles, coated with a sticky protein, latch onto damaged arteries and can deliver a drug to the site in slow release fashion. These nanoparticles can be engineered to deliver an array of drugs to the damaged or clogged artery, a common example being paclitaxel, which inhibits cell division and helps prevent growth of scar tissue that can clog arteries. These particles also have unique surfaces that allow prolonged circulation time, providing more opportunities for these particles to accumulate at the damage site.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"We developed nanoparticles that have antibodies on the surface that attach to diseased sites like Velcro," said Vyavahare. "Interestingly, these newly created nanoparticles only accumulate at the damaged artery, not in the healthy arteries, enabling site-specific drug delivery."

"These nanoparticles can be delivered intravenously to target injured areas and can administer drugs over longer periods of time, thus avoiding repeated surgical interventions at the disease site," said Aditi Sinha, a Clemson graduate student and lead author on a paper soon to be published in journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnolgy, Biology and Medicine.

The work is a promising step toward new treatments for cardiovascular and other diseases. The research team is testing the nanoparticles to determine the most effective drug dosage for vascular tissue repair. This technology can have variety of applications in other diseases, such as chronic , Marfan syndrome and elastic fiber-related disorders, such as aortic aneurysms.

Explore further: Stents may not help treat clogged kidney arteries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Evaluating a new way to open clogged arteries

May 21, 2013

Over the past few decades, scientists have developed many devices that can reopen clogged arteries, including angioplasty balloons and metallic stents. While generally effective, each of these treatments ...

Recommended for you

Tough foam from tiny sheets

3 hours ago

Tough, ultralight foam of atom-thick sheets can be made to any size and shape through a chemical process invented at Rice University.

Graphene surfaces on photonic racetracks

Jul 28, 2014

In an article published in Optics Express, scientists from The University of Manchester describe how graphene can be wrapped around a silicon wire, or waveguide, and modify the transmission of light through it.

Simulating the invisible

Jul 28, 2014

Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos in the OIST Nanoparticles by Design Unit simulates the interactions of particles that are too small to see, and too complicated to visualize. In order to study the particles' behavior, he uses ...

Building 'invisible' materials with light

Jul 28, 2014

A new method of building materials using light, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, could one day enable technologies that are often considered the realm of science fiction, such as invisibility ...

User comments : 0