Tiny particles in air pollution have been associated with cardiovascular disease, which can lead to premature death. But how particles inhaled into the lungs can affect blood vessels and the heart has remained a mystery. Now, scientists have found evidence in human and animal studies that inhaled nanoparticles can travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, potentially explaining the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease.
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Moscow State University have created a new way to package and deliver a potent enzyme that can reverse – and even prevent – poisoning by pesticides and nerve gas, including sarin, which has been used worldwide as a chemical weapon and estimated to be 26 times more deadly than cyanide, and VX. The team, led by UNC-Chapel Hill's Alexander “Sasha” Kabanov, Mescal S. Ferguson Distinguished Professor, figured out how to wrap the powerful enzyme, called organophosphorus hydrolase, in a tiny nanoparticle, which could be taken before, during or after exposure to organophosphate-based toxins.