Injecting targeted nanofibers reduced atherosclerotic plaques
This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today® and:
At 8 weeks of treatment with the nanofiber incorporating a liver X receptor agonist, plaques were 11% and 9% smaller by area in male and female mice, respectively, reported Neel Mansukhani, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago, in a poster at the American Heart Association's Vascular Discovery: From Genes to Medicine Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.
Mansukhani and colleagues said this shows that their novel approach is specific to atherosclerotic lesions and reduces plaque burden after a short time.
"This therapy is designed to be injected systemically but to target and exert its effects only at areas of atherosclerosis. This allows for lower effective doses of therapeutic agents which may otherwise be toxic at higher doses required for efficacy with systemic administration," he told MedPage Today.
The researchers fed these LDL receptor-knockout mice a high-fat diet for 14 weeks and subsequently gave the animals biweekly injections of self-assembling peptide amphiphile nanofibers or control for 8 weeks. At an optimum concentration of 2 mg/mL, the nanofiber could be targeted to atherosclerotic plaque in the aortic root, localizing there for 2 to 3 days before clearing out during days 7 to 10.
Nicholas Leeper, MD, of Stanford University, California, also said that the specificity of these nanoparticles made the study "very exciting."
"The field of nanotherapies has recently expanded beyond its origins as a platform for cancer theranostics into the cardiovascular realm. Work in this area promises to allow precision treatment of atherosclerosis, which remains the leading cause of death in the United States," commented Leeper, who was not part of the study.
Nanofiber therapy for atherosclerosis still needs further study in animal models before moving onto humans, Mansukhani cautioned, adding that next steps include accurately classifying how the liver X receptor agonist is released from the nanofiber and investigating other potential therapeutic agents.
Mansukhani and Leeper disclosed no relevant conflicts of interest.
American Heart Association's Vascular Discovery: From Genes to Medicine Scientific Sessions 2018Source Reference: Mansukhani NA, et al "Targeted nanotherapy for the treatment of atherosclerosis" AHA 2018.