How do we reduce side-effects while increasing the effectiveness of treatments? This is the challenge for nano-medication, small capsules that transport medication to the place where their action is required, avoiding their circulation in the whole body and also any side-effects. “But nano-medication does not resolve everything: it is difficult to put the active substance into the capsule and its release is still not as precise as was hoped”, explains Anaëlle Foucault-Dumas, currently carrying out post-doctorate research at the Institut Galien Paris Sud. To overcome these difficulties, Anaëlle decided to replace capsules with nano-particles of palladium. They are the same size... But instead of releasing a therapeutic molecule, the nano-particles attach a marker to certain proteins implicated in an illness, indicating that they should “be destroyed” in cellular language. This will be an effective way to “limit side effects”, says Anaëlle Foucault-Dumas.
The researcher is currently testing this innovative approach on thyroglobulin, a protein which, in excess, is responsible for serious illnesses such as hyperthyroidism. However, these applications could also be used in cancerous cells. “If we are successful, this approach will be a disruptive innovation in the emerging field of nano-medicine”, concludes the researcher, who works each day to push the limits of our knowledge.
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