Nanotechnology prevents premature birth in mouse studies
(Press-News.org) In a study in mice and human cells, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say that they have developed a tiny, yet effective method for preventing premature birth. The vaginally-delivered treatment contains nanosized (billionth of a meter) particles of drugs that easily penetrate the vaginal wall to reach the uterine muscles and prevent them from contracting. If proven effective in humans, the treatment could be one of the only clinical options available to prevent preterm labor. The FDA has recommended removing Makena (17-hydroxyprogesterone caproate), the only approved medicine for this purpose, from the market.
The study was published Jan. 13 in Science Translational Medicine.
There are an estimated 15 million premature births each year, making it the number one cause of infant mortality worldwide. Few indicators can predict which pregnancies will result in a pre-term birth, but inflammation in the reproductive tract is a contributing factor in approximately one third of all cases. This symptom not only puts babies at risk of being born with low birth weights and underdeveloped lungs, but also has been linked to brain injuries in the developing fetus.
The newly reported experimental therapy uses technology developed by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine. Its active ingredients are two drugs: progesterone, a hormone that regulates female reproduction, and trichostatin A (TSA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor that regulates gene expression. To prepare the treatment, the drugs are first ground down into miniature crystals, about 200-300nanometers in diameter or smaller than a typical bacteria. Then, the nanocrystals are coated with a stabilizing compound that keeps them from getting caught in the body's protective mucus layers that absorb and sweep away foreign particles.
"This means we can use far less drug to efficiently reach other parts of the female reproductive tract," says Laura Ensign, Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology with a secondary appointment in gynecology and obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, co-author of the study, and an expert on nanomedicine and drug delivery systems.
To test their therapy, the researchers used mice that were engineered to mimic inflammation-related conditions that would lead to preterm labor in humans. They found that the experimental treatment prevented the mice from entering premature labor. Neurological tests of mouse pups born to mothers that had received the treatment revealed no abnormalities.
The researchers also applied the drug combination to human uterine cells grown in the lab. The drug combination, they report, decreased contractions in the test samples.
Additional laboratory tests of the experimental treatment are planned to evaluate its safety before considering trials in humans.
This article will be featured in the Jan. 19 Johns Hopkins Medicine Research News Tips
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
A group of scientists led by the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International have discovered a new species of a striking orange and black bat in a mountain range in West Africa. The species, which the researchers expect is likely critically endangered, underscores the importance of sub-Saharan "sky islands" to bat diversity. The species is described today in the journal American Museum Novitates.
"In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope," said Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International and ...
With the impact of climate change increasing by the day, scientists are studying the ways in which human behavior contributes to the damage. A recent study at Walla Walla University, by a collaboration of researchers from Walla Walla University and La Sierra University, examined the effects of acidic water on octopuses, potentially bringing new insight into both how our activities impact the world around us, and the way that world is adapting in response.
The study, "Impact of Short- and Long-Term Exposure to Elevated Seawater PCO2 on Metabolic Rate ...
The human organism requires a variety of small molecules, such as sugars or fats, in order to function properly. The composition of these so-called metabolites and their interaction - the metabolism - varies from person to person and is dependent not only on external influences, such as nutrition, but also to a significant extent on natural variations in our genetic make-up. In an international study, scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin joined forces with colleagues from the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States and discovered hundreds ...
A new study from UBC researchers suggests a strong correlation between following the MIND and Mediterranean diets and later onset of Parkinson's disease (PD). While researchers have long known of neuroprotective effects of the MIND diet for diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia, this study is the first to suggest a link between this diet and brain health for Parkinson's disease (PD).
The MIND diet combines aspects of two very popular diets, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
"The study shows individuals with Parkinson's disease have a significantly later age of onset if their eating pattern closely aligns with the Mediterranean-type diet. The difference shown in the study was up to 17 years later in women and eight years later ...
There are things in life that can be predicted reasonably well. The tides rise and fall. The moon waxes and wanes. A billiard ball bounces around a table according to orderly geometry.
And then there are things that defy easy prediction: The hurricane that changes direction without warning. The splashing of water in a fountain. The graceful disorder of branches growing from a tree.
These phenomena and others like them can be described as chaotic systems, and are notable for exhibiting behavior that is predictable at first, but grows increasingly random with time.
Because of the large role that chaotic systems play in the world around us, scientists and mathematicians have long sought to better understand them. Now, Caltech's Lihong Wang, the Bren Professor in the Andrew and ...
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A recent study from Oregon State University found that after Oregon expanded Medicaid in 2014, more women were able to receive insurance coverage for abortion services, rather than paying out of pocket.
In analyzing Medicaid claims data and other medical records, researchers found that the Medicaid-financed share of total abortions increased each of the first three years following the state's Medicaid expansion. The incidence of Medicaid-financed abortions increased 18% in 2014, then 7% each in 2015 and 2016.
The total number of abortions in the state did not rise; rather, the expansion shifted who paid for them.
"According to the literature, there was a 1% decline in the abortion rate in Oregon between 2014 and 2017. During the pre-expansion ...
As marijuana outlets open after the drug is legalized, the density of those recreational retailers is associated with more use and a greater intensity of use among young adults, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
The study is among the first to examine associations between the density of marijuana outlets and marijuana use over time, and is the first to include unlicensed dispensaries in such an analysis.
Studying young adults in Los Angeles County the year before and the year after marijuana was available for recreational purchase in ...
TROY, N.Y. -- Blood sample analysis showed that, two to five years after they gave birth, mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) had several significantly different metabolite levels compared to mothers of typically developing children. That's according to new research recently published in BMC Pediatrics by a multidisciplinary team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Arizona State University, and the Mayo Clinic.
Researchers analyzed blood samples from 30 mothers whose young children had been diagnosed with ASD and 29 mothers of typically developing children. At the time that the samples were taken, the women's children were between 2 and 5 years old. The team found differences in several metabolite levels between the two groups of mothers. ...
Research led by the University of Wyoming shows that physical weathering is far more important than previously recognized in the breakdown of rock in mountain landscapes. Because it is difficult to measure, physical weathering has commonly been assumed to be negligible in previous studies.
Cliff Riebe, a professor in UW's Department of Geology and Geophysics, headed a research group that discovered that climate and erosion rates strongly regulate the relative importance of subsurface physical and chemical weathering of saprolite, the zone of weathered rock that retains the relative positions of mineral grains of the parent bedrock and lies between ...
A compound developed at Oregon Health & Science University appears to protect nerve fibers and the fatty sheath, called myelin, that covers nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The discovery, published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology, could be important in treating or preventing the progression of multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system disorders. The new research in a mouse model advances earlier work to develop the compound - known as sobetirome - that has already showed promise in stimulating the repair of myelin.
"Sobetirome and related drugs are effective at stimulating myelin repair after damage has occurred. Our new findings now suggest that these drugs could also prove ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
[Press-News.org] Nanotechnology prevents premature birth in mouse studies