RMIT University researchers said their recently published study had advanced nanomedicine's potential to treat conditions presently not curable, like motor neuron disease and dementia.
As specified in a Nanowerk report, the team's work explores "how nanoparticles would interact with cells in humans" and offers fundamental knowledge to help enhance nanomedicine and develop the next generation of personalized biomedical technologies.
The scientists explained that nanoparticles are opening the door to technologies that could enhance treatments and illness diagnosis for patients.
According to Dr. Aaron Elbourne, one of the study's leading researchers, nanoparticle technologies could eventually improve the delivery of drugs, cancer treatments, diagnosis of diseases, and antimicrobials.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/National Institute of Standards and Technology) Researchers explore how nanoparticles interact with cells in humans and offer fundamental knowledge to help enhance nanomedicine.
Nanoparticles for Advanced Nanomedicines
Elbourne, from the School of Science, explained that nanoparticles had been investigated as advanced nanomedicines, although they frequently miss the mark or fail to deliver their treatment to a particular site within the body.
He also said that the main challenge is to control how nanoparticles engage with cells to deliver the medicine accurately.
This has been poorly understood until the present, although the latest work provides a clearer image of what is going on at the nano level.
Most nanoparticle technologies should pass through the outer membrane of the cell to fulfill their function, Elbourne explained.
Such a membrane is an essential protective barrier that isolates the internal cell environment from the surroundings, although it poses a challenge for nanoparticle delivery.
The lead researcher also said that if scientists could overcome such a challenge, it would potentially welcome a new era of medicine.
A Unique Study
This latest research, led by RMIT in partnership with the University of Durham and published in the ACS Nano journal, solves the problem by offering scientists a pathway to develop more effective nanomedicines and diagnostic nanoparticles.
Top story: Nanoparticles could one day help “cure the incurable”, scientists say - RMIT University https://t.co/FxeZNs4mi2, see more https://t.co/XAqqwjsQfu
Employing atomic force microscopy and computer simulations of molecular activity, the researchers found the accurate mechanisms by which gold nanoparticles interact with artificial cell membranes, a small portion of the width of a human hair.
Dr. Andrew Christofferson, a fellow RMIT lead researcher, said their study was unique. What makes the work unique is that they combine experiments and modeling to exhibit a level of detail not seen in the past. This will serve as a platform for future research on nanoparticles and biological materials.
Potential to Cure the Incurable
The researchers also said that one of the main obstacles to discovering a cure for incurable diseases like dementia and motor neuron diseases is the inability to deliver treatments that can cross the blood-brain barrier, a membrane blocking foreign entities from reaching the brain.
Rashad Kariuki, the first author of the study and Ph.D. researcher, shared his excitement to work with nanoparticles that would be tiny enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier as many are just quite large and not interacting favorably with this specific membrane.
She said nanoparticles could be used to treat brain diseases non-invasively, "that would be a game changer."
Future Work for More Efficient Nanomedicine
More work should be done before nanoparticles reach their full potential in terms of treating diseases, although new treatments for using this technology are in development, Elbourne explained.
He also said that collaborators at the University of South Australia work on therapeutics for chronic and acute wounds.
Eventually, the team's study could favorably affect various treatments. This means better results for patients and health systems.
Related information about nanotechnology used to diagnose and treat diseases is shown in Slice's YouTube video below:
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