For several years, doctors and researchers have been using nanoparticles for the targeted treatment of cancerous tumors. Now researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are looking to expand the uses of nanoparticles in medicine with an experiment that paired nanoparticles with magnets. Researchers wanted to test if nanoparticles could be used to deliver targeted anesthesia in the same way that nanoparticles have been used to deliver targeted cancer therapy.
During the experiment, mice were injected with nanoparticles which contained a combination of magnetite (a mineral) and ropivacaine (a common local anesthetic). After the nanoparticles were injected, researchers used magnets to guide the particles to specific regions. Though the mice who received the nanoparticles received 14 times the usual dosage, the treatment was just as efficient as traditional local anesthetics, without the usual side effects. The researchers from the team are hopeful for what this might mean for the future of anesthesia delivery in humans.