Colorful nano-guides: A Nanoparticle Combo

Colorful Nano-Guides

Scheme of the nanoparticle drug at the core (purple) the dye (blue dots) on the surface. Credit: JCSM/SmartDyeLivery GmbH

Scientists have produced colorful nano-guides that finds specific organs. These highly specific nanoparticles finds the liver or the kidneys and unloads its payload of siRNAs at that location.

Nano technology have the potential to revolutionize several fields from electronics to medical applications. Many earlier news items describe various advances in the “nano” field. With this microscopic technology we can peer into brains, kill or find cancer cells and construct microelectrodes. New research from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena have devised a way to specifically deliver and track nanoparticle in the body.

Colorful Nano-Guides, Nanoparticles With a Twist

The paper describing their progress published in the journal Nature communications.

The nanoparticles consist of polymers marked with near infrared fluorescent dyes. These dyes work as both address labels and tracking labels for the nanoparticles. Depending on composition of the dye researchers can control in which organ the nanoparticles will end up. Some dyes makes them accumulate in the liver other in the kidney. The fluorescent dyes also enables scientists to use optical methods to track exactly where the colorful nano-guides are accumulating in the body.

When the particles get where they are going they can release specific treatments. This treatment consists of small RNA molecules called siRNAs. The siRNA can silence specific genes in the organs where they’re absorbed changing protein production. This combination of siRNAs with nanoparticles avoids side-effects from the wrong tissue being exposed to gene silencing, a potential problem when using siRNA as a treatment.

In this study researchers successfully showed that introducing nanoparticle with specific siRNAs that blocked cholesterol production in liver cells. After introducing the nanoparticles – siRNA combo researchers saw a decline of cholesterol levels in the blood of test animals.

The Jenna scientists hope to further develop the technology and hope to use it to switch off genes causing illnesses in the near future. One area they hope this medication will be useful is in treating acute septic infections.