Heart Help: Velcro-Like Nanoparticles Treat Damaged Arteries

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, the standard treatment is to implant vascular stents, which hold the vessels open and release drugs such as paclitaxel. Clemson University researchers have now developed nanoparticles that can deliver drugs targeting damaged arteries - a non-invasive method to fight heart disease - and they hope their technology could be used alongside stents or in lieu of them. "We developed nanoparticles that have antibodies on the surface that attach to diseased sites like Velcro," said bioengineering professor Naren Vyavahare, who led the research team. "These newly created nanoparticles only accumulate at the damaged artery, not in the healthy arteries, enabling site-specific drug delivery." The nanoparticles, which are coated with a sticky protein, can deliver a drug to the site in slow release fashion.