Researchers at Lund University in Sweden successfully used magnets to guide clot-dissolving drugs (fibrinolytics) directly to the site of a thrombus stuck within a coronary stent. They did this by attaching the drugs to magnetic nanoparticles and using external magnets to move them to the right spot.
From the press release:
Guiding drug-loaded magnetic particles using a magnet outside the body is not a new idea. However, previous attempts have failed for various reasons: It has only been possible to reach the body’s superficial tissue, and the particles have often obstructed the smallest blood vessels.
The Lund researchers’ attempt has succeeded partly because nanotechnology has made the particles tiny enough to pass through the smallest arteries and partly because the target has been a metallic stent. When the stent is placed in a magnetic field, the magnetic force becomes sufficiently strong to attract the magnetic nanoparticles. For the method to work the patient therefore has to have an implant containing a magnetic metal.
Press release: Medicine reaches the target with the help of magnets…
Abstract in Biomaterials: The use of magnetite nanoparticles for implant-assisted magnetic drug targeting in thrombolytic therapy.
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*