Gold Nanoparticles Speed Muscle Regeneration, Treat Prostate Cancer

Scientists from Harvard University invent a solution composed of IL-4 and gold nanoparticles that speed up muscle regeneration by increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory macrophages at the injury-site.

“By exploiting the inflammatory response, this technology may significantly improve the therapeutic and functional outcomes of existing treatments that focus on the direct regeneration of muscle,” Theresa Raimondo, a graduate student in the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and first author on the study, said in a press release.

IL-4 a cytokine that galvanizes the differentiation of other cells can help balance the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory macrophages responsible for regulating the bodies healing response to muscular damage. The problem in the case of inflammation, is that the area is over-flooded with pro-inflammatory macrophages, a type of cell regulated by IL-4. In order to reverse the scenario Harvard researchers tested Il-4 bound to gold nanoparticles as an anchoring mechanism, against free-floating IL-4 in living human cells.

What they found, is that nanoparticle-bound IL-4 doubled the percentage of anti-inflammatory macrophages and reduced the number of pro-inflammatory macrophages. In this case the IL-4 gold nano-particle formula was injected within three days of the injury.

Again, the key take away here is that gold nanoparticles keep IL-4 from being washed away by the bloodstream or absolved by any other tissue. Based on tests conducted with an isolated population of mice the experimental group demonstrated a significant increase in muscle fiber density after 15 days compared to the control group who was not injected. Musculature in the experimental group also contracted with more force and speed than the control group.

David Mooney, a researcher on the study, said. “This work demonstrates that modulating the inflammatory response is a potent method for promoting the regeneration of functional tissues, and that IL-4 nanoparticles can promote the M2 macrophages phenotype in the context of injury in vivo, which opens the door to many exciting research directions,”

Naomi Wallas, Head of Rice University creates a gold nano-particle based treatment to prostate cancer. What sticks out about this particular method is that it can treat prostate cancer without a lot of the common side effects.

A gold nanoparticle/nanoshell is composed of a central sphere of silicon glass wrapped in a small golden layer. They are attracted to the electromagnetic signal of cancer and can effectively penetrate the tumorous cell. Once they have infiltrated deeply enough a customized laser frequency is broadcast to the gold nanoparticle triggering it to heat up the cell from the inside. This is similar to when you leave cutlery in a hot drink for too long and it heats up the handle. Eventually these hot, vibrating gold nanoparticles overpower sick tissue and subdue it’s out of control multiplication.

Whats particularly appealing about this treatment is that it does not harm any otherwise healthy tissue, a result that has previously eluded scientists. In the case of prostate cancer for example you could avoid urinary incontinence or sexual impotency as very serious side-effects to chemo.

“This therapy could be life-changing for men diagnosed with prostate cancer and I am honoured to be among the first doctors the US Food and Drug Administration approved to put it to the test,” said Steven Canfield from The University of Texas in the US.

“In fact, the first patient in the trial was actually riding a bike within a week of his treatment,” he said.
The trial is also being conducted from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Michigan

 

 

 

Sources

Gold nanoparticles used to treat prostate cancer for the first time

Gold-covered nanoparticles can speed up muscle regeneration

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