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Researchers use nanoparticles to speed up or slow down angiogenesis

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Posted June 25, 2013

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Researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. have devised a means for using nanoparticles to cause angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels) to speed up or slow down. In their paper published in ACS Nano, the researchers describe how they coated gold nanoparticles with peptides to allow for altering the speed at which new blood vessels develop in specific locations in the body.

The development of new blood vessels is critical while wounds are healing. It’s also important in helping people recover from accidents or who have tissue damaged by disease. Speeding up angiogenesis can help to speed up recovery times. Sometimes however, angiogenesis can progress incorrectly resulting in the growth of tumors. In these instances, doctors would like to slow or stop the angiogenesis process. In this new effort, the research team has found a new way to accomplish both goals with one new treatment option.

The new technique revolves around the use of nanoparticles—very small objects generally not found in nature. In this case, the particles created were made of gold. Because nanoparticles can so easily move around inside the body, the thinking was that nanoparticles could be used to deliver drugs to specific areas of the body where they are needed. In this case, the drugs were peptides that have been shown to speed up angiogenesis when appropriate and to slow the process when tumors have developed. The ability to deliver the drug only to areas where they are needed reduces side-effects.

Read more at: Phys.org

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