Boston, MA Pop a pill or be poked by a needle? Being able to orally deliver microscopic particlesknow as nanoparticlesloaded with medicine is a simple, convenient way to treat patients for various diseases, such as cancer or diabetes. But so far, nanoparticles can only be given via injection since they have trouble being readily absorbed by the intestine, which limits their usefulness.
Now a study led by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the first to report in the field of nanomedicine a new type of nanoparticle that can be successfully absorbed through the digestive tract. The findings may one day allow patients to simply take a pill instead of receiving injections.
The study will be published online November 27, 2013 in Science Translational Medicine.
The nanoparticles developed by the researchers are decorated with antibodies that attach to receptors found on the cell surfaces that line the intestines. Once attached, the nanoparticles gain entry past the cellular barriers in intestinal walls and into the bloodstream. According to the researchers, this type of drug delivery could also be useful in developing new treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol or arthritis.
"The novelty of actively being able to transport targeted nanoparticles across cell barriers can potentially open up a whole new set of opportunities in nanomedicine," said Omid Farokhzad, MD, director of the BWH Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials, senior study author. "The body has receptors that are involved in shuttling proteins across barriers, as is the case in the placenta between the mother and fetus, or in the intestine, or between the blood and the brain. By hitching a ride from these transporters the nanoparticles can enter various impermeable tissues."
Until recently, after being injected into the body, nanoparticles travelled to their destination
|Contact: Marjorie Montemayor-Quellenberg|
Brigham and Women's Hospital