“To our knowledge this is the first new method to inhibit the atherosclerotic process,” said Prof. Xiaobo Sun at Stanford. (full story here ) The researchers, all researchers specializing in the areas of nanomedicine and nanotechnology, used a combination of 3D printing, semiconductor nanostructures, and high-performing polymers to create the nanoparticles. The material resembles the inner workings of the heart. The nanoparticle, said the team, can “stop the flow of materials to the heart from within, thereby removing the plaques that cause atherosclerosis”. I cannot speak for the long-term safety of the new nanoparticle, but there is still some way to go. A preliminary study has shown a possible method by which other small particles could be created from that nanoparticle. Prof Sun said, “If all we have done are the new and small particles, we will have a limited impact” in stopping the atherosclerotic process, but more research would provide better targeting of the nanoparticles. Even if the technology has potential to slow the progression of heart attacks due to plaque buildup, we still need to evaluate both the safety and effectiveness of this technology and more research. If the research proves successful, expect more devices such as pacemakers that use this technology. I am sure our next round of research will come in the form of smaller pacemakers capable of more precise controlling of the heart, as well as devices that use the material to do cancer treatment and immunotherapy.
You can see some of the other research studies related to this topic here and here . I think the potential for nanoparticles that actually do what they’re designed to do is pretty great. I’m pretty sure that we will continue to see that technology continue to advance at a rapid pace.
I will finish this blog post by posting a short video that explains the material better than I can, so click the link for video .
Check back for more coverage of this innovative technology.