Medicated adhesive patches have become a preferred method of delivery for everything from nicotine to hormones to motion sickness medication. Researchers at Drexel University are trying to expand the possibilities of this system--called transdermal delivery--with the help of a cleverly designed delivery vehicle and an ultrasonic "push," or pressure from sound waves. Find out more in this discovery.
Credit: Drexel University
Cancers are notorious for secreting chemicals that confuse the immune system and thwart biological defenses. Researchers at Yale University have developed a novel system to simultaneously deliver a sustained dose of both an immune-system booster and a chemical to counter the cancer's secretions, resulting in a powerful therapy that, in mice, delayed tumor growth, sent tumors into remission and dramatically increased survival rates. The new immunotherapy incorporates well-studied drugs, but delivers them using nanolipogels (NLGs), a new drug transport technology the researchers designed. Find out more in this news release.
Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation
The mission of the Division of Materials Research (DMR) in the Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences is to make new discoveries about the behavior of matter and materials; to create new materials and new knowledge about materials phenomena; to address fundamental materials questions that often transcend traditional scientific and engineering disciplines and may lead to new technologies; to prepare the next generation of materials researchers; to develop and support the instruments and facilities that are crucial to advance the field; and to share the excitement and significance of materials science with the public at large.
NSF supports nanoscale science and engineering throughout all the research and education directorates as a means to advance discovery, invention, and innovation, and to integrate various fields of research.
Nanosponges that soak up a dangerous pore-forming toxin produced by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) could serve as a safe and effective vaccine against the toxin.
April 26, 2014
Nanosponge decoy fights superbug infections
A good disguise enables the nanosponge to soak up toxins from drug-resistant infections or poisons
Our first instinct with infection in the body is often to find it and get rid of it! But, engineer Liangfang Zhang had another idea. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Zhang and his team at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have created a nanosponge to combat drug-resistant infections, such as those caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The nanosponge, made from biocompatible, biodegradable polymer nanoparticles, is camouflaged with a red blood cell membrane. It circulates in the bloodstream, absorbing the toxins produced by infection. One red blood cell membrane can be used as a cloak for more than 3,000 of these stealthy nanosponges. Once the nanosponges are fully loaded with toxins, they are safely disposed of by the liver. They are designed to work with any type of infection or poison that attacks the cellular membrane.
Zhang is working closely with doctors and students at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center on this "nano" approach to tackling infections. He has been testing his approach on mice, with nearly a 100 percent success rate against staph infections. Human clinical trials are the next step!
The research in this episode was funded by NSF award #1216461, EAGER: Red Blood Cell Membrane Camouflaged Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.