Nanotech transforms cyclosporine into safer transplant drug

Scientists are eyeing nanotech drug delivery as a way to help reduce organ transplant failures.

The Times of India reports that researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland are working on a nano-sized drug particle version of cyclosporine, which is used already to help prevent organ rejection. Doctors would encapsulate the drug inside the nanoparticles to make sure it stays at its maximum concentration, and then trigger the compound to release slowly in order to avoid side effects the conventional dose can trigger, such as kidney and liver damage.

The drug is typically given orally or intravenously, and works by preventing the body's white blood cells from rejecting the transplanted organ, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lead researcher Ravi Kumar explained that the experiment increased the level of the drug that becomes active in the system, but its slow release via the nanoparticles helped reduce any toxic effect on the kidneys.

Researchers will have to study this further, replicate the findings in people and ensure that the nanoparticles are safe and are not themselves toxic for long-term human use. But if successful, anything that can boost cyclosporine's safety profile will ultimately help ensure the success of organ transplants. The drug is also used to treat other conditions such as arthritis and lupus, Kumar told the newspaper, and so those patients could potentially benefit from a safer cyclosporine experience.

Details of Kumar's research are published in the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology.

- here's The Times of India story

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