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July 19, 2010

Nanoparticles and Stem Cells Reduced Arterial Plaque volume by 56.8 Percent over 6 Months in Pigs

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A 56.8% reduction in arterial plaque and healing of the arteries would reverse the course of Atherosclerosis by 10-20 years. The treatment could be repeated to stave off Atherosclerosis indefinitely.

Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD) is a condition in which an artery wall thickens as the result of a build-up of fatty materials such as cholesterol. Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.1 million lives a year. Total world deaths are 55 million per year. So about 30% of all deaths are from cardiovascular disease.

A study from the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2010 Scientific Sessions - Technological and Conceptual Advances in Cardiovascular Disease reports that a new technique that combines nanotechnology with adult stem cells appears to destroy atherosclerotic plaque and rejuvenate the arteries. Nanoburning in combination with stem cell treatment promises demolition of plaque and functional restoration of the vessel wall. Nanoparticles (microscopic particles with at least one dimension less than 80 nm) were infused into the heart of pigs along with adult stem cells. After the nanoparticles were heated by laser light, they burned away arterial plaque

The greatest reductions in plaque volume occurred in the treatment groups that received stem cells in addition to the nanoparticles. Also, both groups that received stem cells showed signs of new blood vessel growth (neovascularization) and restoration of artery function

A treatment group of 19 pigs received silica-gold nanoshells, while 18 animals in a control group received saline solution. The treatment group was subdivided into three subsets that received nanoparticles in one of three ways:

* intracellularly along with adult stem cells infused into the heart;

* via an infusion of gas-filled, protein-coated microbubbles that contained no stem cells; or

* delivered through a bioengineered patch that also contained adult stem cells and was attached to the artery itself through minimally invasive surgery.

The researchers found that plaque volume shrunk considerably in the nanoparticle groups immediately after the procedure (an average of 28.9 percent across the three groups) and six months later plaque volume had declined 56.8 percent on average. In the control group that received only saline, plaque volume increased an average of 4.3 percent

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