Can Nano "Drones" Help Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes?

Image courtesy of Columbia University Medical Center
Image courtesy of Columbia University Medical Center

Biodegradable nano drones that deliver a specific healing molecule to fat deposits in arteries may help in preventing heart attacks due to atherosclerosis, results from preclinical models have shown. Findings from the study are published online in Science Translational Medicine.

Targeted nanomedicines made from polymeric building blocks were nanoengineered to carry an anti-inflammatory drug in the form of a biomimetic peptide. The peptide is derived from the body's natural inflammatory-resolving proteins called Annexin 1. The nanomedicines were designed so that the biologic therapeutic would be controlled-released at the target site. The sub-100nm size allows the retention and accumulation of these naoparticles in the plaques.

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Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center found that these targeted biodegradable nanodrones successfully restructured atherosclerotic plaques in mice to make them more stable. After five weeks of treatment, artery damage was significantly repaired and plaque was stabilized. A reduction of reactive oxygen species and plaque necrotic core; and an increase in collagen were seen with the nanomedicines but not with the free peptide or empty nanoparticles.

These findings could translate to the block of plaque rupture and thrombosis in humans, thus preventing heart attacks and strokes. Prior to human testing, the research team plans to refine the nanoparticles to optimize drug delivery and to load them with more potent resolution-inducing drugs.

For more information visit CUMC.edu.