Technological advancement allows us to create new and better tools to treat various conditions of the human body. Treatments progress and eliminate their unwanted side effects, pushing clinical medicine to an alchemical goal where it will ideally be able to free us from all diseases and, finally, death itself. In
The science and other stuff to know
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bone system by reducing its ability to produce new bone tissue and slowing down the process of removal (or resorption) of old tissue. As a result, the bones become weak.
Healthy bones have a standard density, in contrast to the bones of an individual with this condition, which lose bone density and have greater porosity. About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, putting them at higher risk for this condition. Studies suggest that about one in every two women and up to one in every four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis, explains the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF).
Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF), Mehdi Razavi and Angela Shar, have devised a novel way to prevent osteoporosis that is based on the delivery of nano-bubbles using ultrasound in the specific affected areas. “On the one hand, you are reducing bone resorption and, on the other hand, you are increasing bone formation using ultrasound,” says Razavi in a UCF press release. Their findings are described in an article recently published in the journal Nanomedicine.
The nano-bubbles function as cell-regulating agents, stimulating bone activity. While ultrasound can be customized depending on exposure length, intensity, frequency, and waveform, professionals can specify the parameters of each therapy based on the patient’s needs.
According to UCF, the key advantages of this technology are as follows: it allows cell internalization, the ability to leave the vasculature, and the sequential release of multiple genes. Moreover, it has a long shelf life and a quick production procedure; and it is low in toxicity and environmentally friendly.
“You can use this for cancer and other applications, such as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s,” Razavi says.
The scientists claim that because chemotherapeutic medications may be encapsulated in the bubbles and then injected into the targeted tumors, this technology can be generalized in the future for the treatment of various diseases such as cancer. As a result, people could avoid taking medications that could harm the functions of the digestive system. Also, the bubbles could supply oxygen to organs and tissues that need it.
“We are trying to find approaches that can be implemented globally, are non-invasive, widely available, portable, and inexpensive”, concludes Razavi.