Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Clemson bioengineer uses nanoparticles to target drugs

Frank Alexis, PhD
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Frank Alexis, PhD Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

Abstract:
Clemson bioengineer Frank Alexis is designing new ways to target drugs and reduce the chances for side effects.

Clemson bioengineer uses nanoparticles to target drugs

Clemson, SC | Posted on October 8th, 2009

Pharmaceutical commercials can cause the unsettling feeling that if the disease doesn't kill, the cure will, what with a drug's long list of side effects and warnings. Many therapeutic drugs administered by pill, cream, syringe, IV or liquid can be a hit or miss delivery system. Researchers report that only 1 of 100,000 molecules of an intravenous drug make it to the intended spot in the body.

"The big issues for making medicines more effective are getting drugs to where they are needed and keeping them from breaking down as they circulate through the body," said Alexis. "A way to improve targeting a drug and preventing it from being passed out of the body is putting it in envelopes — putting the drug inside something to protect it until it's at the right spot."

The envelopes Alexis uses are nanoparticles. Think of an M&M, with the nanoparticle being the hard outer candy shell and the chocolate being the medicine. The goal would be the same as for an M&M — to melt in the right place.

Nanotechnology operates on the molecular level. It involves engineering materials on such a small scale that the results can be seen only with electron and atomic force microscopes. Nano-engineers take advantage of natural forces — positive and negative electrical charges, attraction and repulsion, surface texture — to have materials self assemble.

"You would be surprised how we mimic what nature does," said Alexis. It is setting off a storm of innovations in many fields — biology, medicine, material science, computers, manufacturing, physics.

"Nanoparticles can be modified many ways," said Alexis. "They can be coated so that they can be durable and stable. They can be patterned so that they match up like a key and a lock to connect to certain cells, tissues and organs. Some drugs are not taken up because of their physical and chemical properties."

A handful of nanoparticle medicines already have been approved for use treating diseases, particularly cancers. Alexis and other bioengineers are ushering in a new era in medicine.

A challenge for oral medicines, for example, is getting them to do some good before the body destroys them. A patient's metabolism can do its job too well taking a drug out of circulation.

Called "first-pass metabolism," the liver breaks down a drug during its first trip circulating through the body. The result is doctors must use greater amounts of oral medicines to achieve the therapeutic effect. Negative reactions from the higher doses or the inconvenience from prolonged treatment cause many patients to stop taking their medicines.

Nanoparticles can be made to survive the first pass. The particles also can be made to get beyond the body's immune system. Multi-layers on the nanoparticles or nanoshells can resist the body's defenses, enabling the medicine to last longer or reach the intended location.

Dendrimers are nanoparticles that could become the Swiss Army knives of targeted drug delivery. The particles can be made so that a number of different kinds of molecules could be attached to it. One group of molecules could fight the disease, another could enhance images to track the drug, a third could carry a chemical trigger to release the medicine by command from outside the body, another, still, that could send signals about results.

"We are moving ahead in nanoscience in laboratories throughout the world," said Alexis. "Nanoparticle functionalities become more and more complex and the next step is for the research to develop technologies allowing their transfer from the research bench to a pharmaceutical drug. New ways of targeting drugs that will be more effective and safe and more agreeable to patients is just over the horizon."

####

About Clemson University
Clemson University offers countless opportunities for students, faculty and community members to participate in decades of tradition, improve quality of life for their surrounding communities and pursue academic challenges. Ranked as the 22nd best national public university by U.S.News and World Report, Clemson is a vibrant student-centered community that thrives on leadership, collaboration and a winning spirit — in academics, athletics and life.

To become one of the country’s top-tier research universities, Clemson University has combined the scientific and technological horsepower of a major research university with the academic and social environment of a small college. Just as founder Thomas Green Clemson intertwined his life with the state’s economic and educational development, this University’s students and faculty impact lives daily with their research and service.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Frank Alexis

864-656-7284

Peter Kent
Media Contact

864-656-4355

Copyright © Clemson University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Possible Futures

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Self Assembly

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials May 17th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Nanocages for gold particles: what is happening inside? March 16th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

Leti to Demo Wristband with Embedded Sensors to Diagnose Sleep Apnea: APNEAband, Which Will Be Demonstrated at CES 2018, Also Monitors Mountain Sickness, Dehydration, Dialysis Treatment Response and Epileptic Seizures December 12th, 2017

Untangling DNA: Researchers filter the entropy out of nanopore measurements December 8th, 2017

Announcements

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

Arrowhead Presents New Clinical Data Demonstrating a Sustained Host Response in Hepatitis B Patients Following RNAi Therapy — Up to 5.0 log10 reduction in HBsAg observed; data presented at HEP DART 2017 — December 6th, 2017

Going swimmingly: Biotemplates breakthrough paves way for cheaper nanobots: By using bacterial flagella as a template for silica, researchers have demonstrated an easier way to make propulsion systems for nanoscale swimming robots November 30th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project