Nanomedicine May Help to Prevent Heart Attacks

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 12, 2015

The nanoparticle's special surface is designed to stick to fatty deposits.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Columbia University researchers have developed a microscopic medicine that could be used to help prevent heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque (mainly cholesterol deposits) within the arteries. This thickening of the artery walls decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to vital body organs and extremities, which can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries continues to be the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S., and about one half of all strokes in this country are caused by atherosclerosis.

Through preclinical testing, the BWH and Columbia University researchers aimed to demonstrate that medical treatment of atherosclerosis can be significantly improved by significantly improving the precision of treatment. They designed nanometer-sized, biodegradable “drones” that are programmed to travel to the exact area of the artery where treatment is required, and, once there, deliver a precise dose of a special anti-inflammatory medication that promotes healing. The size of the nanomedicine particles – 1,000 times smaller than the tip of a single human-hair strand – helps them to maneuver to the inside of the plaque. The particles’ special surface, designed to stick to fatty deposits, helps to keep them there.

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Ringing out 2012 – Most Popular HealthHub Posts

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 1, 2013

The blog team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital would like to close out 2012 with a selection of our most popular posts.  We’d also love to read about your favorites in our comments section.

We wish you a safe and happy New Year and look forward to sharing more health stories with you in 2013.


1.  What’s in a Face?

After suffering a disfiguring injury, Dallas Wiens receives the gift of a new face – the first full face transplant in the U.S. – at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  The life-giving surgery, performed by a team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and residents , provides Wiens with the typical facial features and function of any other man.


2.  Prostate Cancer Screening – Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Professor and Chief of Genitourinary Radiation Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Chief of the Prostate Cancer Radiation Oncology Service at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, discusses the benefits of prostate cancer screening, particularly for younger men.

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A Tiny Cancer Medicine with Mega Potential

Posted by Blog Administrator April 20, 2012

BIND-014 (artist’s rendering from Digizyme, Inc.): A microscopic cancer treatment

BIND-014 (artist’s rendering from Digizyme, Inc.): A microscopic cancer treatment

When it comes to cancer treatment, we’ve discovered that a tiny medicine can have a huge impact.

A multidisciplinary  team of scientists, engineers, and physicians from eight institutions, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have created BIND-014, an innovative nanomedicine (medicine at a microscopic level) that may revolutionize cancer treatment. It is the first medicine of its kind to be applied in human clinical trials – examining its safety and effectiveness in treating several types of cancer – and early results are very promising.

A BIND-014 nanoparticle is so small that it would take about one thousand of them lined up side-by-side to equal the width of a single human hair. Yet, despite their tiny size, each nanoparticle is its own complex drug therapy system. The system has three main functions – finding the cancer, avoiding detection by the immune system, and delivering high concentrations of cancer-fighting drugs to the tumor.

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