Tag Archives: National Institutes of Health

Nanoparticles in contrast agent “see” blood vessels better

Interactions of nanoparticles with biological ...
Interactions of nanoparticles with biological molecules are facilitated by ligands on nanoparticle surfaces. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wouldn’t it be nice if doctors didn’t have to use invasive tests such as heart catheterization to tell if any of your arteries are clogged? Heart caths are not fun – and they carry their own set of risks.

I’m happy to say they’re working on it. Just saw this report on an NIH-funded study using nanoparticles as part of a contrast agent to help doctors visualize the state of your blood vessels much more accurately. A Temple University bioengineer has developed a method for “linking polyphenols, which are very strong antioxidants, to polymers that can self-assemble into nanoparticles.”

The coolest part is that the polymers on the outside get destroyed when they come in contact with arterial plaques (the stuff that can block circulation and cause strokes or heart attacks). Then the contrast agent, including its antioxidants, is released when the polymers dissolve.

The study is two years long. If this works, it could save a lot of people a lot of suffering. Read more here.

P.S. Not biomed but still cool. Engineers have found a way to recycle those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags into practical nanomaterials.

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Hybrid NOSH aspirin pairs H2S with nitric oxide to fight cancer

You’ve heard of hybrid cars, which combine power sources—gasoline and an on-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS). Now there’s a hybrid aspirin that combines acetylsalicylic acid, nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). They call it the “NOSH aspirin,” and they’re saying it can stop cancer cells from growing.

Generic regular strength enteric coated 325mg ...
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Cancer-fighting properties of the new hybrid aspirin are reported in the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. The same scientists had already developed a safer-on-the-stomach aspirin that used nitric oxide.

By adding hydrogen sulfide with its anti-inflammatory properties, the hope was that the aspirin would reduce the long-term inflammation that is thought to lead to abnormal cell growth and thereby contribute to a variety of cancers. Such long-term inflammation might come from infections or diseases such as HPV (can lead to cervical cancer) and hepatitis B (a precursor to liver cancer).

NO is important for a great many functions “in the gastrointestinal tract, including mucosal blood flow, maintenance of mucosal integrity, and maintenance of vascular tone,” according to the National Institutes of Health,

Scientists have for years been studying the role of hydrogen sulfide in the development of cancer prevention drugs. When they noted that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, watercress and Brussels sprouts naturally protect against stomach and colon cancers, they decided to mix

NO and H2S in the hope of coming up with dual benefits. Voila, the NOSH aspirin.

Laboratory tests on animals show the aspirin inhibits growth of breast, colon, pancreas, lung, prostate and some types of leukemia cancer cells without damaging normal cells. NOSH preparations were recorded as being 100,000 times more effective against cancer than regular aspirin.


Other studies have shown even regular aspirin offers a significant reduction of chances of hereditary cancers. But regular intake of aspirin carries a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and in somecases Reye’s syndrome.

So it will probably come soon. Clinical trials will see whether the cost-benefit ratio of using NOSH aspirin for cancer prevention gets up to where it needs to be for human consumption.


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