Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop a 'time bomb' to fight cardiovascular disease

11.06.2012
In Switzerland, more than 20,000 people (37% of all deaths) die of cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis each year.

Treatment options are currently available to people who suffer from the disease but no drug can target solely the diseased areas, often leading to generalized side effects. Intravenous injection of a vasodilator (a substance that dilates blood vessels), such as nitroglycerin, dilates both the diseased vessels and the rest of our arteries. Blood pressure can thus drop, which would limit the desired increased blood flow generated by vasodilatation of diseased vessels and needed for example during a heart attack.

In order to increase the effectiveness of treatments against atherosclerosis and to reduce side effects, a team of researchers from UNIGE, HUG and the University of Basel have developed nanocontainers having the ability to release their vasodilator content exclusively to diseased areas.

Nanotechnology in medicine

Though no biomarker specific to atherosclerosis has been identified, there is a physical phenomenon inherent to stenosis (the narrowing of blood vessels) known as shear stress. This force results from fluctuations in blood flow induced by the narrowing of the artery and runs parallel to the flow of blood. It is by making use of this phenomenon that the team of researchers has developed a veritable «time bomb», a nanocontainer which, under pressure from the shear stress in stenosed arteries, will release its vasodilator contents.

By rearranging the structure of certain molecules (phospholipids) in classic nanocontainers such as liposome, scientists were able to give them a lenticular shape as opposed to the normal spherical shape. In the form of a lens, the nanocontainer then moves through the healthy arteries without breaking. This new nanocontainer is perfectly stable, except when subjected to the shear stress of stenosed arteries. And that's exactly the intention of this technological advance. The vasodilator content is distributed only to the stenotic arteries, significantly increasing the efficacy of the treatment and reducing side effects. «In brief, we exploited a previously unexplored aspect of an existing technology. This research offers new perspectives in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease,» explains Andreas Zumbuehl from the Department of Organic Chemistry at UNIGE.

«Nanomedicine is a discipline stemming from general nanoscience but which orients itself towards medical research. The interdisciplinary collaboration between chemistry, physics, basic science and clinical medicine in a highly technical environment could lead to a new era of research,» states Till Saxer of the Cardiology and General Internal Medicine Departments at HUG.

«The nano component is present in all disciplines, but the most interesting aspect of nanomedicine is its overview allowing the development of clinical products that integrate this global medical point of view from the earliest onset of research projects,» states Bert Müller, Director of the Biomaterials Science Centre (BMC) at Basel.

When chemistry gets involved

How did scientists manage to change the shape of the nanocontainers so that they resemble a lens? By rearranging the structure of molecules, chemists at UNIGE replaced the ester bond that links the two parts of the phospholipid (head and tail), with an amide bond, an organic compound that promotes interaction among phospholipids. Once modified, the molecules are hydrated then heated to form a liquid sphere which will relax to solidify in the form of a lens upon cooling.

The researchers then modelled the cardiovascular system using polymer tubes blocked to varying degrees to represent healthy and stenotic arteries. Next, an artificial extracardiac pump was connected to these arteries in order to reproduce the shear stress induced by the narrowing of the vessels. The nanocontainer was injected into the system and samples were taken from both healthy and stenosed areas. It turns out that the active drug was found in higher concentrations in diseased areas than in non-diseased areas and that the concentrations there were significantly greater than if the drug had been distributed in a homogenous manner.

Andreas Zumbuehl | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unige.ch

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins

27.06.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>