The newly discovered nanoparticle saves the lives of patients from severe heart attacks by chomping away the plaque-causing it.
FREMONT, CA: Scientists from Michigan State and Stanford University have invented a particle that eats away plaque-causing heart attacks. The newly created "Trojan Horse" nanoparticle can be directed to eat debris, thus reducing and stabilizing plaque.
According to recent results published in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology, nanoparticles homes in on atherosclerotic plaque for its high selectivity to a particular immune cell type, namely monocytes and macrophages. When the nanoparticles are inside those plaques, it delivers a drug agent that induces the cell to engulf and eat cellular debris. In short, the diseased/dead cells in the plaque core will be removed. By renewing the macrophages, the plaque size gradually reduces and stabilizes. Also, in the future, the clinical trials on the nanoparticle are expected to reduce the risk of a number of heart attacks with minimal side effects.
The current study involves intercepting the receptor signaling in the macrophages and sending a message via small molecules utilizing nano-immunotherapeutic platforms. While the previous studies are made on the surface of the cells, the new approach works intracellularly and has been effective in stimulating macrophages.
Thus, by stimulating the macrophages to eat dead and dying cells selectively, the inflammatory cells, which are the precursor cells to atherosclerosis, causing heart attacks, can be removed effectively. Also, once the macrophages eat the debris, they can be induced again by delivering a small molecule intracellularly to begin eating again. In the future, this approach has applications beyond atherosclerosis.
A team of scientists and collaborators have made a groundbreaking finding in atherosclerosis, which is better than previous methods with the state-of-the-art selectivity and delivery capabilities of their advanced nanomaterial platform. Their finding demonstrated that the nanomaterials were able to selectively seek out and deliver a message to the very cells needed. With these results, they are looking forward to including the clinical translation of these nanomaterials using large animal models and human tissue tests.