Promising Nanoparticle Therapy for Heart Disease

June 16, 2009

(ChatahBox)—A new study shows great promise for breaking up dangerous artery clogging plaque, which is the main cause of cardiovascular disease. Breaking up the plaque before patients suffer life-threatening heart attacks and stroke could save thousands of lives every year.

Researchers from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research at the University of California developed targeted nanoparticles, capable of breaking up the most harmful plaque in a patient’s arteries.

The researchers devised a unique nanoparticle that is made up of a group of lipid-based molecules formed into a sphere called a micelle. The sphere contains a peptide and a protein, which binds to the surface of the plaque.

The research team successfully used the nanoparticles to break up plaque in mice. The researchers fattened up a group of mice feeding them an unhealthy high-fat diet.

Once the mice developed atherosclerotic plaques, which didn’t take long, considering they were fed a diet that’s a human equivalent of Big Macs and greasy French fries for every meal, the scientists injected them with the nanoparticles.

The micelle nanopartcles were administered intravenously for three hours to allow the nanoparticles to circulate. Not only did the nanoparticles break up the plaque, they also targeted the areas of plaque that were most likely to rupture, including the shoulder area where the plaque tissue meets the normal tissue.

This treatment needs further study, before testing on humans, but it is very promising for the future development of therapies to combat heart disease, which is the cause of one third of all deaths in the United States every year.

The entire study is available in the recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source


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