Is it possible that a simple spritz of the tiniest particles of gold and peptides could treat heart disease?
This newly considered procedure is expected to be minimally invasive and a quick, on-the-spot fixer to a lot of different heart problems.
That’s right! According to cutting-edge research from the Associate Professors, Dr. Emilio Alarcon and Dr. Erik Suuronen from the Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, a spray-on technology involving nanoparticles of gold could offer incredible results, ultimately saving many lives.
After all, cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death globally, leading to no less than 18 million deaths every year.
According to a new study published in peer-reviewed journal ACS Nano, Dr. Alarcon and his team suggest that this new technology could be used in conjunction with coronary artery bypass surgeries in the future, which is the most common type of heart surgery.
The team of researchers tested the therapy by spraying the tiny gold particles on the hearts of lab mice.
They used really low concentrations of peptide-modified particles of gold, modified in their laboratory.
In just a few seconds, the material can be painted on the heart evenly with the help of a miniature spraying device’s nozzle.
Gold nanoparticles are highly chemically reactive and have been shown to have unusual properties before.
For many years, scientists have been using tiny gold particles, so small they are not detectable by the human eye, in quite a wide range of technologies, becoming an area of immense interest for research.
In this situation, the nanogold was custom-made to also include peptides, which is a short chain of amino acids, and then sprayed on the hearts of mice as part of the experiment.
What the researchers were able to discover by doing this was that this therapy increased cardiac function and heart electrical conductivity.
Furthermore, there was no off-target organ infiltration by the gold particles.
The Director of the Bio-nanomaterials Chemistry and Engineering Laboratory at the University of the Ottawa Heart Institute, Dr. Alarcon, who is also part of the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, explained: “That is the beauty of this approach. You spray, then you just wait a couple of weeks, and the animals are doing just fine compared to the controls.”
The expert went on to say that the data shows that the therapeutic action of this method is not only really effective but that its application is also much simpler when compared to other similar regenerative approaches currently used to treat infarcted hearts.
First, the cardiac function improvement observed and the electrical signal propagation in the lab mice’s hearts was rather difficult to believe.
However, after multiple experiments showed the same results, Dr. Alarcon says that the team was finally convinced.
In order to validate these promising findings in mice, the researcher team is currently looking to adapt the technology to minimally invasive procedures in larger animal models such as pigs and rabbits.