Heart Disease Treated With Nanoburrs Offers New Hope

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MIT and Harvard researchers are looking for new ways of treating cardiovascular disease. A method that offers new hope is by designing new particles that can cling to damaged artery walls and slowly release medicine.

These new particles are called ‘nanoburrs’ which are coated with tiny protein fragments that will allow them to cling to damage arterial walls. Once the nanoburrs have attached themselves to the arterial walls, they can release drugs such paclitaxel, which inhibits cell division and helps prevent growth of scar tissue that can clog arteries.

MIT Institute Professor Langer commented by saying; “This is a very exciting example of nanotechnology and cell targeting in action that I hope will have broad ramifications.” Professor Langer is the senior author of a paper describing the nanoparticles in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Langer and Omid Farokhzad have previously developed nanoparticles that seek out and destroy tumors. Nanoburrs, are among the first particles that can zero in on damaged vascular tissue.

The development of ‘nanoburrs’ is the first step towards new treatments for cardiovascular and other diseases. If they could target particles to injured areas, in patients, this could open up new opportunities for other treatments.

Researchers are currently testing nanoburrs on rats over a 2 week period that will help them determine the most effective dosage for treating damaged vascular tissue. Further research will help determine if the nanoburrs would be effective in delivering drugs to tumors.

Omid Farokhzad stated: “This technology could have broad applications across other important diseases, including cancer and inflammatory diseases where vascular permeability or vascular damage is commonly observed.”

A method that offers new hope is by designing new particles that can cling to damaged artery walls and slowly release medicine.

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