Researchers at the University of Georgia have refined the nanoparticle drug delivery process further by using nanoparticles to deliver drugs to a specific organelle within cells.
By targeting mitochondria, “the powerhouse of cells,” the researchers increased the effectiveness of mitochondria-acting therapeutics used to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity in studies conducted with cultured cells.
“The mitochondrion is a complex organelle that is very difficult to reach, but these nanoparticles are engineered so that they do the right job in the right place,” said senior author Shanta Dhar, an assistant professor of chemistry in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Dhar and her co-author, doctoral student Sean Marrache, used a biodegradable, FDA-approved polymer to fabricate their nanoparticles and then used the particles to encapsulate and test drugs that treat a variety of conditions. Their results were published this week in early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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