Scientists have developed biodegradable polymers that can mimic the ability of white blood cells to target inflamed blood vessel walls, according to a new study led by Ohio University researchers. The finding could be the first step in developing drugs that suppress specific sites of inflammation in medical conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
Researchers found that biodegradable beads coated with targeting molecules can travel through the bloodstream and effectively stick to the site of tissue inflammation, a symptom of various diseases, according to the study, which will be published in the Dec. 23 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists are interested in drugs made from biodegradable polymers because they can be easily prepared, have a long shelf life and can be designed to release specific doses of medication, according to the study.
When the body suffers from a bacterial infection or a wound, the white blood cells, or leukocytes, adhere to the site to treat the problem. But in inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, heart disease or inflammatory bowel disease, leukocytes accumulate in an area where they arent needed and cause or progressively worsen the disease.
Andrea Gibson | EurekAlert!
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