The growing field of optogenetics involves the use of light to control neural activity, a process that has wide implications for treating genetic diseases such as macular degeneration. But up until now, the therapy has required the use of genetically modified neurons, limiting its effectiveness in the human population.
A team of MIT scientists has designed a new injectable hydrogel made from nanoparticles that could someday be used to hold drugs in the body, treating diseases such as cancer, macular degeneration and heart disease.
A new study from American and Israeli researchers has shown that nanostructures used to deliver cancer drugs act differently within the local area of a tumor than they do in healthy cells, a finding that could change the way these nanomaterials are made and how they target their drug release.
Nanomachines, those tiny programmable particles that have shown in tests to deliver drugs successfully, are now part of an ongoing study at Columbia University designed to discover their degradation over time. This factor is especially important in the delivery field, giving drugs a leg up as they bring treatments where they need to be.
Tiny polymer tubes coated with zinc may one day be able to treat stomach conditions such as ulcers by acting as "micromotors" carrying drugs to the stomach lining. Animal studies at the University of California, San Diego, demonstrated in vivo that the synthetic motors enhanced the efficiency of drug delivery to the stomach.
Researchers have developed graphene strips that have demonstrated the ability to carry two different cancer drugs and target each to the part of the cell where it will be most effective. The surface area of a flat strip in particular suits these particles to the delivery of the cancer drugs TRAIL and doxorubicin.
South Korean researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a delivery technique that uses bits of gelatin to encapsulate drugs and carry them to the brain without surgery. The method shows promise for stroke patients, extending the window during which treatment can be effective.
Because nanoparticles are so different in scale from other drugs on the market, drugmakers will need a way to make them in bulk and at a low cost, though still highly specific in form and function. To that end, researchers have developed a technique for making 3-D structures at the nanoscale, offering repeatable production that is also relatively inexpensive.
Researchers at Harvard University have demonstrated that a nonsurgical injection of programmable biomaterial can assemble in vivo into a 3-D structure to attack cancer cells and help to prevent other infectious diseases such as HIV.
Combining diagnostics and drug delivery is an ideal progression to improve the effectiveness and speed of treatment and a way to make drugs "smarter." To make one of these two-in-one systems, Singapore-based researchers developed a new biomarker that lights up to locate tumors and releases cancer drugs at the same time.