Ural Federal University: University Established Laboratory Together with the Scientific Center of Rospotrebnadzor

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The Ural Federal University established a new research laboratory together with the Ekaterinburg Medical Research Center for Prophylaxis and Health Protection in Industrial Workers of Rospotrebnadzor. Physicists and mathematicians will improve a breakthrough method of treating genetic and socially significant diseases by using therapeutic nanoparticles for targeted medication delivery. Calculations will determine the mechanisms and improve the accuracy of medication delivery by nanoparticles into cells. Scientists will also develop methods to reduce risks of harmful influence of metal nanoparticles and their oxides on different human organs and tissues. Sergey Fedotov, Professor of the University of Manchester, told about it in the air of Radio “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.

“The therapeutic efficacy of nanoparticles largely depends on endocytosis, i.e. the ability of particles to enter the cell through the plasma membrane. This is a very complex process, which is formed under the influence of a number of factors: the complex structure of the cell membrane, unique physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles, their interaction with cell organelles. Mathematical consideration of all these conditions solves the complex task of increasing the treatment efficiency. Our goal is to build models of stochastic, i.e. random movement of nanoparticles inside body cells, mathematically describe the process of particle penetration through the cell membrane. Thus, we will be able to calculate the distribution of nanoparticles inside the cell, determine the critical concentrations and their optimal size for passing through the entire cell structure,” explains Sergey Fedotov.

The scientists base the construction of mathematical models on experimental results, which are provided by medical workers of Ekaterinburg Medical Research Center for Prophylaxis and Health Protection in Industrial Workers Rospotrebnadzor. For example, this is data from microscopes showing nanoparticles penetrating cells as well as various organs and tissues. Using this data, mathematicians calculate what was the probability of particle penetration into the cell, what is the optimal amount that will be able to pass into it. Thus, scientists not only estimate the efficiency of targeted medication delivery by nanoparticles, but also calculate how to reduce the risk of their penetration to healthy tissues.

“Despite the potential and high productivity of this treatment method, there are possible risks to human health. The main problem is that nanoparticles can be toxic to healthy cells. They can cause oxidative stress, which produces reactive oxygen species that destroy proteins and DNA. Fortunately, the probability of nanoparticles entering the cell is mathematically calculable. We can figure out what is the maximum number of particles and the volume of the medication in them that should be injected into the body so that they completely fill the nidus of infection and at the same time do not spread to healthy cells,” says Dmitry Aleksandrov, Professor of the Department of Theoretical and Mathematical Physics at UrFU.

Establishment of the Laboratory “Stochastic Transport of Nanoparticles in Living Organisms and Development of Scientific Approaches to Reduce Their Harmful Effects on the Health of Exposed Population” was funded by the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education under the “Priority 2030” program. At the moment, the program is planned for three years with the possibility of prolongation. As a result of the work, the scientists will provide a set of computational programs and mathematical models for training neural networks to analyze the trajectories of nanoparticles distribution in the body.

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