Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nanoparticle created to attack cardiovascular plaque

Scientists and engineers at UC Santa Barbara and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research have developed a nanoparticle that can attack plaque—a major cause of cardiovascular disease. The new development is described in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The treatment is promising for the eventual development of therapies for cardiovascular disease, which is blamed for one third of the deaths in the United States each year. Atherosclerosis, which was the focus of this study, is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up on the walls of arteries and can cause heart attack and stroke.

"The purpose of our grant is to develop targeted nanoparticles that specifically detect atherosclerotic plaques," said Erkki Ruoslahti, distinguished professor at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "We now have at least one peptide, described in the paper, that is capable of directing nanoparticles to the plaques."

The nanoparticles in this study are lipid-based collections of molecules that form a sphere called a micelle. The micelle has a peptide, a piece of protein, on its surface, and that peptide binds to the surface of the plaque.

Co-author Matthew Tirrell, The Richard A. Auhll Professor and dean of UCSB's College of Engineering, specializes in lipid-based micelles. "This turned out to be a perfect fit with our targeting technology," said Ruoslahti.

To accomplish the research, the team induced atherosclerotic plaques in mice by keeping them on a high-fat diet. They then intravenously injected these mice with the micelles, which were allowed to circulate for three hours.

"One important element in what we did was to see if we could target not just plaques, but the plaques that are most vulnerable to rupture," said Ruoslahti. "It did seem that we were indeed preferentially targeting those places in the plaques that are prone to rupture."

The plaques tend to rupture at the "shoulder," where the plaque tissue meets the normal tissue. "That's also a place where the capsule on the plaque is the thinnest," said Ruoslahti. "So by those criteria, we seem to be targeting the right places."

Tirrell added:"We think that self-assembled micelles (of peptide amphiphiles) of the sort we have used in this work are the most versatile, flexible nanoparticles for delivering diagnostic and therapeutic biofunctionality in vivo. The ease with which small particles, with sufficiently long circulation times and carrying peptides that target and treat pathological tissue, can be constructed by self-assembly is an important advantage."

Ruoslahti said that UCSB's strength in the areas of materials, chemistry, and bioengineering facilitated this research. He noted that he and Tirrell have been close collaborators.

PNAS Paper Targeting atherosclerosis by using modular, multifunctional micelles:

The work was funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to Ruoslahti and Tirrell, the article, "Targeting Atherosclerosis Using Modular, Multifunctional Micelles," was authored by David Peters of the Burnham Institute at UCSB and the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Group at UC San Diego; Mark Kastantin of UCSB's Department of Chemical Engineering; Venkata Ramana Kotamraju of the Burnham Institute at UCSB; Priya P. Karmali of the Cancer Research Center, Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla; and Kunal Gujraty of the Burnham Institute at UCSB.

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>