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Posted: June 6, 2007

Scientists eye nanoparticles as glaucoma treatment

(Nanowerk News) Nanoparticles of a material used to polish glass and as a catalyst to remove grime in the walls of self-cleaning ovens shows great promise as a potential treatment for glaucoma, an eye disease that affects millions of people worldwide, new research has found. In a study scheduled for the June 28 issue of ACS's Journal of Physical Chemistry B ("Surface-Derivatized Nanoceria with Human Carbonic Anhydrase II Inhibitors and Fluorophores: A Potential Drug Delivery Device"), a weekly publication, Sudipta Seal and Sanku Mallik describe early laboratory tests of cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) as drug delivery vehicles.
Mallik and Seal note that barely 1-3 percent of existing glaucoma medicines penetrate into the eye, whereas experiments by other groups have shown high penetration rates for nanoparticles without undue patient discomfort from scratching. They combined nanoceria with a compound that blocks activity of an enzyme (hCAII) believed to play a central role in glaucoma. That disease involves abnormally high pressure of the fluid inside the eye, which, if left untreated, can result in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. High pressure occurs, in part, because of a buildup of carbon dioxide inside the eye, and the compound blocks an enzyme that produces carbon dioxide.
"These results are very promising, and more studies will likely evolve into an inhibition of hCAII in living cells and an effective treatment for glaucoma and other diseases," their report states. "Furthermore, inhibitors for other pathogenic enzymes can be immobilized on the nanoceria and applied to the enzymes. The potential applications for functionalized cerium oxide nanoparticles seem limitless as a potential nontoxic drug delivery tool."
Source: American Chemical Society
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