Nanoparticle Research Could Enhance Drug Delivery Through Skin
News Oct 15, 2014
Researchers at the University of Southampton have identified key characteristics that enhance a nanoparticle’s ability to penetrate skin.
Nanoparticles are up to 100,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair and drugs delivered using them as a platform, can be more concentrated, targeted and efficient than those delivered through traditional means.
Although previous studies have shown that nanoparticles interact with the skin, conditions in these experiments have not been sufficiently controlled to establish design rules that enhance penetration.
Now a multidisciplinary team from the University has explored changes in the surface charge, shape and functionality (controlled through surrounding molecules) of gold nanoparticles to see how these factors affect skin penetration.
“By creating nanoparticles with different physicochemical characteristics and testing them on skin, we have shown that positively charged nanorod shaped, nanoparticles are two to six times more effective at penetrating skin than others,” says lead author Dr Antonios Kanaras. “When the nanoparticles are coated with cell penetrating peptides, the penetration is further enhanced by up to ten times, with many particles making their way into the deeper layers of the skin (such as the dermis).”
Establishing which characteristics contribute to penetration is also important in discovering ways to prevent potentially toxic nanoparticles in other materials, such as cosmetics, from entering the skin.
The research, which has been published in the journal Small, drew on the medical expertise of Dr Neil Smyth and Dr Michael Ardern-Jones, as well as contributions from physicist Professor Otto Muskens. PhD student Rute Fernandes conducted the experimental work.
“Our interest is now focused on incorporating these findings into the design of new nanotechnological drugs for transdermal therapy,” says Dr Kanaras. “We welcome the opportunity to work with external partners in industry and government in order to achieve this.”
Building Molecular Wires, One Atom at a TimeNews
Electronic devices are getting smaller and smaller. Early computers filled entire rooms. Today you can hold one in the palm of your hand. Now the field of molecular electronics is taking miniaturization to the next level. Researchers are creating electronic components so tiny they can’t be seen with the naked eye.READ MORE
Arrow Poison Potential Male Birth ControlNews
Women have many options for oral contraceptives that are safe, effective and reversible, but despite decades of research, men have none. Now, scientists report a rat study that shows they finally have a good lead for a male birth control pill. It's based on ouabain, a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.READ MORE