NEW YORK, NY (March 18, 2013) A multicenter team of researchers, including scientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed biodegradable nanoparticles that are capable of delivering inflammation-resolving drugs to sites of tissue injury. The nanoparticles, which were successfully tested in mice, have potential for the treatment of a wide array of diseases characterized by excessive inflammation, such as atherosclerosis. The study was published today in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A key way in which the body protects itself against infection or injury is through acute inflammation. Ideally, this response first promotes the clearance of pathogens or damaged tissue; then, through a process called inflammation resolution, it clears cellular debris and inflammatory mediators and restores the tissue to its normal state. However, in many conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases, the inflammatory process never resolves, leading to tissue damage.
"A variety of medications can be used to control inflammation. Such treatments, however, usually have significant side effects and dampen the positive aspects of the inflammatory response," said co-senior author Ira Tabas, MD, PhD, the Richard J. Stock Professor, Department of Medicine, and professor of Pathology & Cell Biology (in Physiology and Cellular Biophysics) at CUMC. The other co-senior author is Omid Farokhzad, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
To overcome these obstacles, the researchers incorporated two advances. First, based on an idea from co-lead author Gabrielle Fredman, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at CUMC, they took advantage of a 24-amino-acid peptide,
|Contact: Karin Eskenazi|
Columbia University Medical Center