'Sticky' nanoparticles could help keep arteries open without a stent

Stenting procedures, while shown to be effective for years, remain undoubtedly an invasive method of treating clogged or damaged arteries. And when it comes to drug-eluting stents, alternative means of delivering drugs such as paclitaxel could have a similar effect without the invasive procedure, according to a new study to be published in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.

Researchers from Clemson University have developed injectable nanoparticles that could slowly deliver drugs in a way that could help prevent the closing of arteries over time without a stenting procedure. The "sticky" particles latch onto damaged tissue by getting caught up in the rough edges of the artery walls where they are needed.

"Healthy arteries have elastic fibers that provide elasticity," Clemson bioengineer Naren Vyavahare said in a statement. "They are like rubber bands in the tissue that allow expansion and recoil during blood flow. In most cardiovascular diseases, elastic fibers in arteries get damaged, creating hooks that can be used to target drugs."

One of the drugs these could deliver would be paclitaxel, used in many stents for the same purpose: to prevent the growth of scar tissue and allow the artery to heal over time. Including heart disease, the conditions the team is looking to treat are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Marfan syndrome and elastic fiber-related disorders like aortic aneurysms, according to the university.

Lead author Aditi Sinha said in a statement: "These nanoparticles can be delivered intravenously to target injured areas and can administer drugs over longer periods of time, thus avoiding repeated surgical interventions at the disease site."

- here's the release