Nanoparticle research could enhance drug delivery through skin

October 9, 2014

Scientists at the University of Southampton have identified key characteristics that enhance a nanoparticle's ability to penetrate skin, in a milestone study which could have major implications for the delivery of drugs.

Nanoparticles are up to 100,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair and drugs delivered using them as a platform, can be more concentrated, targeted and efficient than those delivered through traditional means.

Although previous studies have shown that nanoparticles interact with the , conditions in these experiments have not been sufficiently controlled to establish design rules that enhance penetration.

Now a multidisciplinary team from the University has explored changes in the surface charge, shape and functionality (controlled through surrounding molecules) of to see how these factors affect skin penetration.

"By creating nanoparticles with different physicochemical characteristics and testing them on skin, we have shown that positively charged nanorod shaped, nanoparticles are two to six times more effective at penetrating skin than others," says lead author Dr Antonios Kanaras. "When the nanoparticles are coated with cell penetrating peptides, the penetration is further enhanced by up to ten times, with many particles making their way into the deeper layers of the skin (such as the dermis)."

Establishing which characteristics contribute to penetration is also important in discovering ways to prevent potentially toxic in other materials, such as cosmetics, from entering the skin.

The research, which has been published in the journal Small, drew on the medical expertise of Dr Neil Smyth and Dr Michael Ardern-Jones, as well as contributions from physicist Professor Otto Muskens. PhD student Rute Fernandes conducted the experimental work.

"Our interest is now focused on incorporating these findings into the design of new nanotechnological drugs for transdermal therapy," says Dr Kanaras. "We welcome the opportunity to work with external partners in industry and government in order to achieve this."

Explore further: Gold nanoparticles bring scientists closer to a treatment for cancer

Related Stories

New study says nanoparticles don't penetrate the skin

October 1, 2012

(Phys.org)—Research by scientists at the University of Bath is challenging claims that nanoparticles in medicated and cosmetic creams are able to transport and deliver active ingredients deep inside the skin.

Mice study enables view of nanoparticle accumulation

May 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —A number of years ago, a paper was published in Environmental Health Perspectives by Maureen Gwinn and Val Vallyathan that reflected concern about nanoparticles. Health experts ask: What are the long term health ...

Recommended for you

Graphene under pressure

August 25, 2016

Small balloons made from one-atom-thick material graphene can withstand enormous pressures, much higher than those at the bottom of the deepest ocean, scientists at the University of Manchester report.

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins

August 25, 2016

Ultrasound imaging is used around the world to help visualize developing babies and diagnose disease. Sound waves bounce off the tissues, revealing their different densities and shapes. The next step in ultrasound technology ...

Nanovesicles in predictable shapes

August 25, 2016

Beads, disks, bowls and rods: scientists at Radboud University have demonstrated the first methodological approach to control the shapes of nanovesicles. This opens doors for the use of nanovesicles in biomedical applications, ...

'Artificial atom' created in graphene

August 22, 2016

In a tiny quantum prison, electrons behave quite differently as compared to their counterparts in free space. They can only occupy discrete energy levels, much like the electrons in an atom - for this reason, such electron ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.