Nanogels For Heart Attack Patients

Heart disease and heart-related illnesses are a leading cause of death around the world, but treatment options are limited. Now, one group reports in ACS Nano that encapsulating stem cells in a nanogel could help repair damage to the heart.

Myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, causes damage to the muscular walls of the heart. Scientists have tried different methods to repair this damage. For example, one method involves directly implanting stem cells in the heart wall, but the cells often don’t take hold, and sometimes they trigger an immune reaction. Another treatment option being explored is injectable hydrogels, substances that are composed of water and a polymer. Naturally occurring polymers such as keratin and collagen have been used but they are expensive, and their composition can vary between batches. So Ke Cheng, Hu Zhang, Jinying Zhang and colleagues wanted to see whether placing stem cells in inexpensive hydrogels with designed tiny pores that are made in the laboratory would work.

The team encapsulated stem cells in nanogels, which are initially liquid but then turn into a soft gel when at body temperature. The nanogel didn’t adversely affect stem cell growth or function, and the encased stem cells didn’t trigger a rejection response. When these enveloped cells were injected into mouse and pig hearts, the researchers observed increased cell retention and regeneration compared to directly injecting just the stem cells. In addition, the heart walls were strengthened. Finally, the group successfully tested the encapsulated stem cells in mouse and pig models of myocardial infarction.

Source: https://www.acs.org/
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Canakinumab Drug Lowers Risk Of Fatal Lung Cancer By 75%

It turns out that cholesterol isn’t the only thing you have to worry about to keep your heart healthy. In recent years, doctors have started to focus on inflammation — the same process that makes cuts red and painful — as an important contributor to a heart attack. It’s the reason doctors recommend low-dose aspirin to prevent recurrent heart attacks in people who have already had them, why they also prescribe statins, which lower both cholesterol and inflammation, and why they have started to measure inflammation levels in the blood.

But it’s never been clear exactly how much inflammation adds to heart disease risk. Since statins lower both, it’s hard to tell whether inflammation or cholesterol has the bigger impact on heart problems. But in a new paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting, scientists say they now have proof that lowering inflammation alone, without affecting cholesterol, also reduces the risk of a heart attack.

In the study, 10,000 people who have already had a heart attack were randomly assigned to get injected with a placebo or different doses of a drug called canakinumab. Canakinumab, made by Novartis, is currently approved to treat rare immune-related conditions and works to reduce inflammation but does not affect cholesterol levels. After four years, the people who received the drug had a 15% lower chance of having a heart attack or stroke compared to people who didn’t get the drug. The medication also reduced the need for angioplasty or bypass surgery by 30%.

Even I am pinching myself,” says Dr. Paul Ridker, who led the study and is director of the center for cardiovascular disease prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is a pioneer in exposing the role inflammation plays in heart disease. “This outcome is more than we hoped for. The bottom line is we now have clear evidence that lowering inflammation through this pathway lowers rates of heart attack and stroke with no change at all in cholesterol.”

Perhaps more intriguing are additional results that Ridker reported, related to cancer. In a separate study published in the Lancet using data from the same study, he found that people taking canakinumab lowered their risk of dying from any cancer over four years by 50%, and their risk of fatal lung cancer by 75%.

Source: http://time.com/

Bionic Cardiac Patch

Scientists have built a “bioniccardiac patch that could act similarly to a pacemaker and monitor as well as respond to cardiac problems, a kind of nanocomputer. The researchers from Harvard University constructed nanoscale electronic scaffolds that can be seeded with cardiac cells to produce a bionic cardiac patch — the engineered heart tissue with ability to replace heart muscle damaged during a heart attack.

bionic cardiac patch

I think one of the biggest impacts would ultimately be in the area that involves replaced of damaged cardiac tissue with pre-formed tissue patches,” said Charles Lieber, who along with colleagues described the work in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. “Rather than simply implanting an engineered patch built on a passive scaffold, our works suggests it will be possible to surgically implant an innervated patch that would now be able to monitor and subtly adjust its performance,” he added.

Once implanted, the “bionic” patch could act similarly to a pacemakerdelivering electrical shocks to correct arrhythmia. Unlike traditional pacemakers, the “bionic” patch — because its electronic components are integrated throughout the tissue — can detect arrhythmia far sooner, and operate at far lower voltages. “Even before a person started to go into large-scale arrhythmia that frequently causes irreversible damage or other heart problems, this could detect the early-stage instabilities and intervene sooner,” Lieber said. “It can also continuously monitor the feedback from the tissue and actively respond,” he added.

The patch might also find use as a tool to monitor the responses under cardiac drugs, or to help pharmaceutical companies to screen the effectiveness of drugs under development.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/

How To Combat Arteriosclerosis

A particularly high number of people suffer from arteriosclerosis—with fatal consequences: Deposits in the arteries lead to strokes and heart attacks. A team of researchers under the leadership of the University of Bonn has now developed a method for guiding replacement cells to diseased vascular segments using nanoparticles. The scientists demonstrated in mice that the fresh cells actually exert their curative effect in these segments.

Blood_Heart_CirculationIn arterial calcification (arteriosclerosis), pathological deposits form in the arteries and this leads to vascular stenosis. Strokes and heart attacks are a frequent outcome due to the resultant insufficient blood flow. Endothelial which line the blood vessels play an important role here.  Damage to the is generally the insidious onset of arteriosclerosis.

The scientists introduced tiny nanoparticles with an iron core. “The iron changes the properties of the endothelial cells: They become magnetic,” explains Dr. Sarah Rieck from the Institute of Physiology I of the University of Bonn. The nanoparticles ensure that the endothelial cells equipped with the ‘turbogene can be delivered to the desired site in the blood vessel using a magnet where they exert their curative effect.

The researchers tested this combination method in mice whose carotid artery endothelial cells were injured. They injected the replacement cells into the artery and were able to position them at the correct site using the magnet. “After half an hour, the endothelial cells adhered so securely to the vascular wall that they could no longer be flushed away by the bloodstream,” says Jun.-Prof. Wenzel. The scientists then removed the magnets and tested whether the fresh cells had fully regained their function. As desired, the new endothelial cells produced nitric oxide and thus expanded the vessel, as is usual in the case of healthy arteries. “The mouse woke up from the anesthesia and ate and drank normally,” reported the physiologist.

The results are now being published in the journal ACS Nano.

Source: http://phys.org/

Arrhythmia: How To Prevent Heart Attack

A new nanoparticle developed by University of Michigan researchers could be the key to a targeted therapy for cardiac arrhythmia, a condition that causes the heart to beat erratically and can lead to heart attack and stroke. The disease affects more than 4 million Americans and causes more than 750,000 hospitalizations and 130,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone.

The new treatment uses nanotechnology to precisely target and destroy the cells within the heart that cause cardiac arrhythmia. In studies conducted on rodents and sheep, the U-M team found that the treatment successfully kills the cells that cause cardiac arrhythmia while leaving surrounding cells unharmed. Cardiac arrhythmia is caused by malfunctions in a certain type of heart muscle cell, which normally helps regulate the heartbeat. Today, the disease is usually treated with drugs, which can have serious side effects. It can also be treated with a procedure called cardiac ablation that burns away the malfunctioning cells using a high-powered laser that’s threaded into the heart on a catheter. The laser also damages surrounding cells, which can cause artery damage and other serious problems.

The U-M team, led by Dr. Jérôme Kalifa, a cardiologist and assistant professor of internal medicine, and Raoul Kopelman, Professor of Chemistry, set out to target and destroy the cells with a far more precise technique that uses low-level red light illumination instead of a high-power laser. Widely used today to treat cancer, the technique requires doctors to mark unwanted cells with a chemical that makes them sensitive to low-level red light. The red light then destroys the marked cells while leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.

cardiologyMicroscopy photos show a cardiac myocyte cell (top) and an attached fibroblast cell (bottom) in a rat heart, after the injection of the newly developed nanoparticle. In the second frame, red light has been applied. The red coloring indicates that the myocyte, which causes cardiac arrhythmia, has been killed, while the fibroblast remains unharmed.

The great thing about this treatment is that it’s precise down to the level of individual cells,” Kopelman said. “Drugs spread all over the body and high-power lasers char the tissue in the heart. This treatment is much easier and much safer.”

The findings are detailed in a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Source: http://ns.umich.edu/

Revolutionary Treatment Against Blood Clots

Australian researchers funded by the National Heart Foundation are a step closer to a safer and more effective way to treat heart attack and stroke via nanotechnology. The research is jointly lead by Professor Christoph Hagemeyer, Head of the Vascular Biotechnology Laboratory at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute (Australia) and Professor Frank Caruso, from the University of Melbourne. Professor Hagemeyer said this latest step offers a revolutionary difference between the current treatments for blood clots and what might be possible in the future. This life saving treatment could be administered by paramedics in emergency situations without the need for specialised equipment as is currently the case.

nanoparticles against heart attack

We’ve created a nanocapsule that contains a clot-busting drug. The drug-loaded nanocapsule is coated with an antibody that specifically targets activated platelets, the cells that form blood clots,” Professor Hagemeyer said. “Once located at the site of the blood clot, thrombin (a molecule at the centre of the clotting process) breaks open the outer layer of the nanocapsule, releasing the clot-busting drug. We are effectively hijacking the blood clotting system to initiate the removal of the blockage in the blood vessel,” he added.

Professor Frank Caruso from the Melbourne School of Engineering said the targeted drug with its novel delivery method can potentially offer a safer alternative with fewer side effects for people suffering a heart attack or stroke. “Up to 55,000 Australians experience a heart attack or suffer a stroke every year. About half of the people who need a clot-busting drug can’t use the current treatments because the risk of serious bleeding is too high,” he said.

The findings has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Source: http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/

How To Fight Thrombotic Disease

Future Science Group (FSG) today announced the publication of a new article in Future Science OA, covering the use of nanocarriers and microbubbles in drug delivery for thrombotic disease.

Ischemic heart disease and stroke caused by thrombus formation are responsible for more than 17 million deaths per year worldwide. Molecules with thrombolytic capacities have been developed and some of them are in clinical practice. However, some patients treated with these molecules develop lethal intracranial hemorrhages. Furthermore, these molecules are rapidly degraded in the blood stream, and therefore large amounts of drugs are needed to be efficacious.

Research has focused on protecting thrombolytic molecules and enhancing their accumulation in clots. In this context, nanoparticles are interesting tools as the drugs can be loaded onto them and are thus protected from degradation in the body. Moreover, thrombus-targeting peptides have been used to concentrate the nanoparticles loaded with thrombolytic molecules into the thrombus.
nanoparticle against brain cancerWith millions of deaths per year resulting from thrombosis, it is important to improve drug delivery and the subsequent outcomes,” commented Francesca Lake, Managing Editor. “This review provides an excellent overview of where we stand thus far with utilizing nanoscale technology to solve this issue.”

Source:  http://www.future-science-group.com/

How To Diagnose Heart Attacks With A Thermometer

Diagnosing a heart attack can require multiple tests using expensive equipment. But not everyone has access to such techniques, especially in remote or low-income areas. Now scientists have developed a simple, thermometer-like device that could help doctors diagnose heart attacks with minimal materials and cost. The report on their approach appears in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.
thermometer to diagnose heart attacks
Sangmin Jeon from Pohang University of Science and Technology (Korea), and colleagues note that one way to tell whether someone has had a heart attack involves measuring the level of a protein called troponin in the person’s blood. The protein’s concentration rises when blood is cut off from the heart, and the muscle is damaged. Today, detecting troponin requires bulky, expensive instruments and is often not practical for point-of-care use or in low-income areas. Yet three-quarters of the deaths related to cardiovascular disease occur in low- and middle-income countries. Early diagnosis could help curb these numbers, so Jeon’s team set out to make a sensitive, more accessible test.

Inspired by the simplicity of alcohol and mercury thermometers, the researchers created a similarly straightforward way to detect troponin. It involves a few easy steps, a glass vial, specialized nanoparticles, a drop of ink and a skinny tube. When human serum with troponin — even at a minute concentration — is mixed with the nanoparticles and put in the vial, the ink climbs up a protruding tube and can be read with the naked eye, just like a thermometer.

Source: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/

How To Dissolve Blood Clots A Thousand Times Faster

By loading magnetic nanoparticles with drugs and dressing them in biochemical camouflage, Houston Methodist researchers say they can destroy blood clots 100 to 1,000 times faster than a commonly used clot-busting technique.

The finding, reported in Advanced Functional Materials, is based on experiments in human blood and mouse clotting models. If the drug delivery system performs similarly well in planned human clinical trials, it could mean a major step forward in the prevention of strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, and other dire circumstances where clots — if not quickly busted — can cause severe tissue damage and death.

blood clot2
Each nanoparticle is composed of an iron oxide core (red squares) that is swathed in albumin (grey) and the anti-clotting agent tPA (green). The iron oxide cubes are about 20 nm on a side
We have designed the nanoparticles so that they trap themselves at the site of the clot, which means they can quickly deliver a burst of the commonly used clot-busting drug tPA where it is most needed,” said Paolo Decuzzi, Ph.D., the study’s co-principal investigator.

Decuzzi leads the Houston Methodist Research Institute Dept. of Translational Imaging.
Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/

NanoDrones Destroy Fat In Arteries

Nanometer-sized “drones” will deliver a special type of healing molecule to fat deposits in arteries. This is new approach to prevent heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis, according to a study in pre-clinical models by scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Columbia University Medical Center.

Although current treatments have reduced the number of deaths from atherosclerosis-related disease, atherosclerosis remains a dangerous health problem: Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries is the #1 killer of women and men in the U.S., resulting in one out of every four deaths. In the study, targeted biodegradable nanodrones’ that delivered a special type of drug that promotes healing (‘resolution‘) successfully restructured atherosclerotic plaques in mice to make them more stable. This remodeling of the plaque environment would be predicted in humans to block plaque rupture and thrombosis and thereby prevent heart attacks and strokes.
nanodronesNanometer-sized ‘drones’ that deliver a special type of healing molecule to fat deposits in arteries could become a new way to prevent heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis
This is the first example of a targeted nanoparticle technology that reduces atherosclerosis in an animal model,” said co-senior author Omid Farokhzad, MD, associate professor and director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at BWH and Harvard Medical School (HMS). “Years of research and collaboration have culminated in our ability to use nanotechnology to resolve inflammation, remodel and stabilize plaques in a model of advanced atherosclerosis.”

These findings are published in the February 18th online issue of Science Translational Medicine.
Source: http://www.brighamandwomens.org/

Artificial Heart: Patient Came Back Home For A New Life

Five months after his surgery in Nantes, the second French patient who received CARMAT artificial heart is in good health, after he came back home.

For the first time, we are not talking only of survival but of a “new life“, says the Dr Carpentier in charge of the recovery. The second patient who received an artificial heart on 5 August in Nantes, returned to his family, free of his movements. He just needs to carry a bag of three pounds, similar to a laptop and has to charge its batteries every 4 to 5 hours.
artificial heart CARMAT
This is good news even to the father of the French artificial heart – Professor Carpentier – who speaks of “miracle” in front of a man walking better than he does. In late October, Prof. Carpentier indicated that his patient could already exercise on a bike. Return to a “normal” life, autonomous, that is the final purpose and this is why the artifical heart has been designed.
Source: http://www.carmatsa.com/

SiO2 Nanoparticles Cause Cardiovascular Disease

Nanoparticles, extremely tiny particles measured in billionths of a meter, are increasingly everywhere, and especially in biomedical products. Their toxicity has been researched in general terms, but now a team of Israeli scientists has for the first time found that exposure nanoparticles> (NPs) of silicon dioxide (SiO2) can play a major role in the development of cardiovascular diseases when the nanoparticles cross tissue and cellular barriers and also find their way into the circulatory system.
heart
Environmental exposure to nanoparticles is becoming unavoidable due to the rapid expansion of nanotechnology,” says the study’s lead author, Prof. Michael Aviram, of the Technion Faculty of Medicine, “This exposure may be especially chronic for those employed in research laboratories and in high tech industry where workers handle, manufacture, use and dispose of nanoparticles. Products that use silica-based nanoparticles for biomedical uses, such as various chips, drug or gene delivery and tracking, imaging, ultrasound therapy, and diagnostics, may also pose an increased cardiovascular risk for consumers as well.”

The study has been published in the December 2014 issue of Environmental Toxicology.
The research team was comprised of scientists from the Technion Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Rambam Medical Center, and the Center of Excellence in Exposure Science and Environmental Health (TCEEH).
Source: http://www.ats.org/