Fighting diseases more effectively is one of the challenges of modern science. With this in mind, researchers from Case Western Reserve University conducted experiments aimed at introducing nanoparticles into the bodies of patients. These operations are carried out in order to remove infectious agents faster. For the time being, the results of the new approach are quite promising, but additional tests are to be carried out.
The nanoparticles developed by the scientists will be able to bind to white blood cells, but only those that are present at infection sites. In this way, the elimination of pathogens will be more efficient and the infection sites will be better isolated from the rest of the body.
Evi Stavrou, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, was one of the major players in the new discovery. In addition, the results of the various experiments have been published in the journal WhatsNew2day.
For better targeting of pathogens
The researchers’ observations revealed theunusual neutrophil activity in the presence of disease. In order not to hamper this important characteristic, an approach based on targeting neutrophils, in particular at the site of disease, has been developed. Additionally, the platform is flexible enough to be suitable for certain neutrophil populations alone or in cellular complexes.
However, to target activated neutrophils, the scientists needed to identify a surface marker expressed by stimulated neutrophils, not resting ones. Specifically, the team focused on the elastase secreted by these killer cells during inflammation.
This substance was selected because it is generated on the surface of white blood cells in the presence of infectious agents. Then, the biologists developed an elastase inhibitor and designed the surface of the nanoparticles with this peptide in order to facilitate their binding with activated neutrophils.
They have created therapeutic cells that target neutrophils
Following the successful design of nanoparticles, pharmacological inhibitors interfering with neutrophil functions were selected. The incorporation of these two components on a lipid NP platform has successfully produced cells active neutrophil-targeted therapies.
In addition, the assembled nanoparticles were used in in vitro tests to define their biodistribution as well as their loading capacity on rodents. Thus, many NP variants that can interact particularly with only activated neutrophils have been designed.