According to a new research carried out at Binghamton University, State University of New York, gold nanoparticles could help make drugs work more rapidly and effectively.
Nanoparticles are microscopic particles that are larger than atoms but smaller than what the human eye can see. They are unique for their fairly ubiquitous nature and their large surface area-to-volume ratio. The new research is co-conducted by Amber Doiron, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Binghamton University. This research is one of the first of its kind to examine deeper into these nanoparticles with regard to health.
Nanoparticles are a huge area of research in the scientific community right now. However, they're not yet well understood for their impact on human health.
Amber Doiron, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Binghamton University
"Nanoparticles have unique properties and, because of that, are used in many applications. They're in your food and may get into your bloodstream through environmental exposure. Eventually, they may be used for helping to get drugs to tissues or as imaging agents. We wanted to investigate how nanoparticles interact with human cells," added Doiron.
Doiron and her team particularly examined the effects of gold nanoparticles on the health of a cell. They discovered that nanoparticles can change cells, but only if the particles come in a very specific size.
The nanoparticles have to be around 20 nanometers. Nothing bigger or smaller worked.
During their study, the researchers found that when the cells that line veins or arteries are exposed to these nanoparticles, there is a change in the vascular permeability. This could potentially help in the delivery of medication more effectively.
However, the researchers are also conscious of some limitations to nanoparticles being used in this way, "It has to be exact, otherwise changing the permeability of veins too much could be extremely dangerous," stated Doiron.