EL PERIÓDICO and the Barcelona Materials Science Institute (ICMAB, CSIC) publish a series of videos and articles every Wednesday until September 7 as part of the popular science project ‘YouMaker: this is how science is done’. This is content in which various experts will explain in a didactic way the processes for preparing materials used in the fields of energy, electronics and medicine, such as batteries or solar cells, from their laboratories and with the participation of professional science communicators.
I read in a news item that medication side effects are one of the main causes of hospitalizations throughout Europe. One of the reasons for side effects is that when drugs are administered orally or intravenously, they enter the bloodstream and are distributed throughout the body. A chemical that we take to cure ourselves of an ailment that affects one organ can affect other organs that do not tolerate it.
Being able to direct the medication exclusively towards the affected organ would be the dream of any doctor, and it is precisely on this that an ICMAB team led by researcher Anna Roig is working. These are tiny capsules —or rather bubbles— that could travel through the body carrying the medicine inside, and which would accumulate, by means of an external magnet, in the desired organ.
To create it, it is made from an emulsion of two immiscible compounds (as when we make a vinaigrette, the drops of vinegar are trapped in the oil), in which the medicine is trapped in very small bubbles of the carrier material.
In the nanocapsules, magnetic nanoparticles or some other detectable material are added to the surface, they travel through the body through the blood, causing the interior substance to be released where it is desired. The ICMAB team is working on a drug to treat patients who have suffered a stroke, but they hope to expand their field to other therapies. It would be a great advance when it comes to avoiding side effects. And at the same time, save drugs.
To learn more about magnetic nanocapsules and to discover how they are manufactured, don’t miss the video “How a nanomedicine is made” with the scientific communicator Andrea Stephany and the researcher and master’s student at ICMAB in the Nanoparticles and Nanocomposites Group Anna Sole. You will be able to enter her laboratory and see how she works within the framework of the YouMaker project: this is how science is done.
YouMaker is a project of the Barcelona Institute of Materials Science (ICMAB, CSIC) in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.