More than 6.5 million women in the United States have endometriosis, an incurable disorder in which endometrial cells grow outside of the uterus. Symptoms may range from chronic pain and blood spotting to stomach issues or infertility.
Currently, surgical removal of cells may improve fertility for women, but recurrence of cell growth is quite common.
Using photo-responsive nanoparticles, scientists at the OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy and Oregon National Primate Research Center at OHSU have developed a precise treatment to alleviate the pain and fertility challenges associated with endometriosis.
Using an animal model, researchers Ov Slayden, Ph.D., professor of reproductive and developmental sciences, ONPRC, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine and Oleh Taratula, Ph.D., assistant professor in the OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy, used tiny polymeric materials – less than 100 nanometers in size – packed with dye that is able to generate both a fluorescence signal and cell-killing heat under near-infrared light. Within 24 hours of being injected into the body, the nanoparticles are able to detect and eliminate abnormal endometrial cell growth without causing harm to other portions of the body.
Figure above: Schematic illustration of “always on” and “activatable” SiNc-loaded PEG-PCL nanoparticles (SiNc-NP).