A revolutionary method of delivering drugs specifically to the uterus – using antibody-coated nanoparticles – has been pioneered by researchers from the University of Newcastle (UON) and Hunter Medical Research Institute.
In a world-first study, pregnancy researchers Dr Jonathan Paul, Laureate Professor Roger Smith AM and nanopharmaceutical specialist Dr Susan Hua targeted a hormone sensor predominantly found in the uterine muscle.
They say the nanoparticles, which can be loaded with drugs, target this receptor like a guided missile, without causing collateral damage.
Higher drug dosages currently given to expectant mothers sometimes impact other organs throughout the body and potentially the unborn baby, said Laureate Professor Smith.
“In the past, for example, Ventolin was commonly used to relax the uterus muscle and prevent premature labour but it could also cause tremors and even heart failure.”
“It’s no longer used, whereas if it’s delivered just to the uterine muscle it is not likely to cause the same side effects on the mother.”
The technology may allow a new generation of labour drugs to be employed, while existing therapies that deter or induce contractions can potentially be administered in lower dosages with reduced toxicity and fewer off-target effects.
You can read more about this project here. [Story credit: University of Newcastle newsroom]
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