Scientists from the US and Brazil have been exploring new treatment options for lung conditions using advanced technologies.
The research, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focused on how the emerging field of nanotechnology – using and controlling materials at a very minute level – could be used in the treatment of a range of lung conditions. These include cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, among others.
The lungs contain a protective mucus barrier, designed to stop germs and other particles from entering the lungs. The barrier can cause problems for people with lung conditions who take inhaled medicines, in that it can prevent the medicines from getting to the right place.
Scientists used tiny nanoparticles to develop an inhalable ‘wrapper’ to contain therapeutic genes. They found that this system was effective in getting the genes through the barrier.
However, it is worth noting that this research is still at a very early stage, and more studies are needed to test and refine the method. The scientists behind it say that it could be many years before this type of technology could be used to help treat people with lung conditions.
Learn about the factors that can cause lung disease and the ways to reduce your contact with them.
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