Nanotechnology helps treat sexually transmitted diseases

May 4th, 2009 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

London, May 4 (IANS) A breakthrough in the effective administration of potential anti-viral drugs could be the first step in developing new treatments for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
“We wanted to develop a new strategy of delivering siRNAs (small interfering RNA, molecules that silence genes, for treatment of STDs) with a FDA-approved material,” said study author Kim Woodrow, post doctorate researcher at Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Science.

siRNA interference knocks out the function of genes in higher organisms as well as in microbes that may cause STDs. The researchers designed siRNAs to target a gene expressed widely in the lining of the female mouse reproductive tract.

Using nanoparticles made of a biodegradable polymer known as PLGA, the researchers created a stable “time release” vehicle for delivery of siRNAs to sensitive mucosal tissue like that of the female reproductive system.

They found that the particles, loaded with the drug agent, moved effectively in two important ways. First they penetrated cells below the surface of the mucosa and then were distributed throughout the vaginal, cervical, and uterine regions.

Furthermore, the siRNAs stayed in the tissues for at least a week and knockdown of gene activity lasted up to 14 days.

The work was published in Monday’s online issue of Nature Materials.

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