Nano-particles could treat people allergic to nickel present in consumer products such as jewelry, coins and cell phones, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
The research paper has been published in the April 3 online issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
Jeffrey Karp, who leads the team and co-directs the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at BWH, says creams and other cosmetic products are generally toxic and do not suit most people. He is also associated with the Harvard Medical School, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). The team has discovered that nanoparticles of calcium could be applied like a cream to the skin, imprisoning the nickel, disallowing its entry into the body or skin. The cream can be rinsed off with water.
The team began by concentrating on compounds of calcium that separate nickel nanoparticles. It focused on a search to particles measuring 70 to 500 nanometers and examined nanoparticles designated by the Food and Drug Administration. Calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate compounds were mixed into an emollient to make a cream. The creams were tested under experimental conditions.