Called a biodegradable pelt, the nanoparticles have the potential to improve our existing anti heart drug treatments.. (PhysOrg.com 12/12/10) One of the hardest problems in heart attack research has always been identifying the physical location of a plaque. Until now, scientists could only identify the location due to the difficulty in the diagnosis. The material developed by Dr. Michael J. Yoh (no relation), a professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and senior author of a paper on the development of new biodegradable material, could provide a solution.
Pollen nanoparticles are made of carbon polymers and have the unique ability to degrade in cold and extreme conditions, like those found in environments like Antarctic sea ice, according to the research team. Using lasers, the UCLA material was able to degrade the plaques and then absorb the cholesterol byproducts along with them. One of the biggest challenges in treating heart attacks in the past was the difficulty in getting to the plaque, since heart attack victims would often die without having been diagnosed.
Although the results of this research were a huge step forward, the researchers say more work remains before their material can be made commercially. To increase its durability, they did test it on tissue rather than blood; the materials can’t be used on a patient’s outside, but would be safe for use on the outside of a living person. And because they are currently small, only one in 1 million, these materials won’t fit in your pocket.
The material will also probably only be suitable for applications that involve small blood vessels, like the heart, says Yoh, but still could have use on large arteries, like the lungs.