Great new work from Franklin College researchers that should garner significant attention:
Researchers at the University of Georgia and their collaborators have developed a new technique to enhance stroke treatment that uses magnetically controlled nanomotors to rapidly transport a clot-busting drug to potentially life-threatening blockages in blood vessels.
The only drug currently approved for the treatment of acute stroke—recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA—is administered intravenously to patients after the first symptoms of ischemic stroke appear. The protein in the drug dissolves blood clots that cause strokes and other cardiovascular problems, like pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks.
"Our technology uses magnetic nanorods that, when injected into the bloodstream and activated with rotating magnets, act like stirring bars to drive t-PA to the site of the clot," said Yiping Zhao, co-author of a paper describing the results in ACS Nano and professor of physics in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Our preliminary results show that the breakdown of clots can be enhanced up to twofold compared to treatment with t-PA alone."
Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one American dies from stroke every four minutes.
"We're dealing with a huge population of patients who desperately need new treatments," said Leidong Mao, paper co-author and associate professor in UGA's College of Engineering.
Medical advances can sometime appear quite far removed from the source of their greatest need - either only focused on a small aspect of a condition or only remotely connected to a future treatment regime. Zhao, Mao and their colleagues have a special intuition about getting to the essence of a problem, drug delivery in this instance, and forging solutions with the use of technology developed in their labs. Congratulations to this team of perceptive researchers as they seek to utilize technology to improve the efficiency of the t-PA drug to help stroke and heart attack victims.
Image: Professor Yiping Zhao