Nanoparticles help locate, remove endometriosis lesions

Scientists have developed a new nanotechnology approach for locating and removing the painful and dangerous lesions associated with endometriosis, a common gynecological condition in women of childbearing age.

The research, led by Oleh Taratula of the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy and Ov Slayden of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University, involves magnetic nanoparticles — tiny pieces of matter as small as one-billionth of a meter.

The animal-model study, published in the journal Small, shows that the iron oxide nanoparticles, injected intravenously, act as a contrast agent; they accumulate in the lesions, making them easier to see by advanced imaging such as MRI.

And when exposed to an alternating magnetic field, a non-invasive procedure, the nanoparticles’ temperature soars to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, high enough for lesion removal via heat.

“Endometriosis is a debilitating, systemic disease, and the need for an efficient, non-surgical method of removing the lesions is urgent,” Taratula said. “We invented targeted nanoparticles with extraordinary heating capabilities that enable the use of magnetic hyperthermia for the safe and efficient elimination of endometriosis lesions.”

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