Scientists at the University of Washington are developing natural polymer based nanofibers using electrospinning to mimic the native extracellular matrix of cartilage in terms of microstructure, mechanical properties, and chemical composition. This reesearch holds great implication for the generation of functional cartilage tissues to help the millions of people who suffer from degeneration of articular cartilage due to primary osteoarthritis or trauma.
Optical labeling is an important tool in biological imaging because it offers superb discrimination between the sites of interest and the crowded background of a biological specimen. Diamonds nanocrystals have several advantages over other optical labels and open new opportunities in optical imaging, especially in applications where the size of optical labels represents an important parameter.
Nanoparticles can be modified to create selective surfaces for targeted molecular interactions. As the biomarker populations present in blood are more fully characterized, nanoparticle harvesting platforms will have significant potential improve the detection of diseases at an early, more treatable stage.
The human heart does not have significant regeneration capabilities and cardiologists look to cell therapy as a promising new method for cardiac repair. Now there is a new delivery system that improves the results of cell therapy. The new system allows greater control of the intramyocardial environment (inside the heart muscle) by delivering growth factors to an injured heart muscle and using peptide nanofibers for prolonged delivery of the injected factor.
Smart magnetic hydrogels were investigated by researchers in Taiwan for the development of a new magnetically induced drug delivery system. By applying magnetic fields, they were able to switch the the drug release profile of the hydrogels between on and off mode.
In a rapidly growing field, electrospun biodegradable polymeric nanofibers are being used in scaffolds for engineering various tissues such as nerves, cartilages or bone. Recent research by scientists in Singapore offers new insights into the nanostructures and mechanical properties of single nanofibers.
It still is a huge challenge to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson or Huntington, which are increasingly affecting our society as the average life-span of our population increases. One of the main obstacles for successful therapy of these disorders is safe and effective drug delivery to the central nervous system.
Gold nanoparticles have shown promise for cancer therapy by virtue of their ability to absorb laser light, heat up and thus kill the tumor. However, in order for the gold nanoparticles to have their therapeutic effect they need to be taken up specifically by tumor cells. Researchers have now used targeted viral vectors as carriers to bring the gold nanoparticles to the location where they need to work.