New nanomed reduces inflammation in injured tissue by natural means

A research team from around the country has found a way to deliver inflammation-reducing drugs to injured tissue using biodegradable nanoparticles.

With conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and neurodegenerative diseases, tissues in the body may suffer from prolonged inflammation, which can damage those tissues. Prior treatments come with a bevy of side effects, though, primarily because they inhibit the natural process of inflammation, which is a defense against infection, according to a Columbia University report.

The new nanoparticles disguise a naturally occurring peptide that mediates inflammation so that those peptides are less likely to be ousted by the immune system. Also, by targeting collagen IV, a protein found at sites of tissue injury, the treatment is designed to effectively reduce inflammation without widespread side effects.

The scientists from Columbia University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and MIT published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that details preclinical trials in which the nanoparticles were able to reduce inflammation in mice with abdominal inflammation and other serious tissue damage.

The team filed a patent for the delivery platform, focusing on its potential to treat atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

"The beauty of this approach is that, unlike many other anti-inflammatory approaches, it takes advantage of nature's own design for preventing inflammation-induced damage, which does not compromise host defense and promotes tissue repair," co-author Ira Tabas of Columbia University Medical Center said in a statement.

- here's the report from Columbia University Medical Center