There’s been a sort of a medical theme running through this week’s entries, so, to close out medical week, we turn to an article by David Peters et al, advanced published on PNAS website, "Targeting atherosclerosis by using modular, multifunctional micelles". Much as other nanoparticles may be targeted at tumors (see "Targeting Tumors"), so micelles may be targeted at plaque in blood vessels.
As the article describes, lab mice fed a high fat diet were treated for plaque formation using micelles with peptides that would seek out and attach themselves at the weakest point of the plaque, delivering anticoagulants to reduce the formations. The results of the experiments
Micelles coated with the CREKA peptide were able to specifically target diseased vasculature in ApoE-null mice. . . . micelles targeted with the CREKA peptide present a potentially useful approach to targeting atherosclerotic plaques.
. . . the CREKA micelle platform may be useful in reducing the clotting tendency in plaques and could potentially also reduce the risk of thrombus formation on plaque rupture. Also the targeting makes it possible to lower the dose, which should reduce the risk of bleeding complications.
This study, along with earlier ones on targeting nanoparticles to seek out tumors to more effectively deliver chemotherapy treatments, seems to indicate that the best use of nanoparticles in medicine is as delivery systems.
And for anyone below a certain age who didn’t get the reference in the title, take a look here. Ah, Lennon and McCartney. They just don’t write them like this anymore.