Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease

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A temporary tattoo to help control a chronic disease might someday be possible, according to scientists at Baylor College of Medicine who tested antioxidant nanoparticles created at Rice University.
A proof-of-principle study shows that nanoparticles modified with polyethylene glycol are conveniently choosy as they are taken up by cells in the immune system.
That could be a plus for patients with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, one focus of study at the Beeton lab. Placed just under the skin, the carbon-based particles form a dark spot that fades over about one week as they are slowly released into the circulation.
T and B lymphocyte cells and macrophages are key components of the immune system. However, in many autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, T cells are the key players. One suspected cause is that T cells lose their ability to distinguish between invaders and healthy tissue and attack both.
In tests at Baylor, nanoparticles were internalized by T cells, which inhibited their function, but ignored by macrophages. The ability to selectively inhibit one type of cell over others in the same environment may help doctors gain more control over autoimmune diseases.
The majority of current treatments are general, broad-spectrum immunosuppressants, which affect all of these cells, but patients are exposed to side effects (ranging) from infections to increased chances of developing cancer. Seeing something new that could potentially enable selectivity is very exciting. Since the macrophages and other splenic immune cells are unaffected, most of a patient’s existing immune system remains intact.

http://news.rice.edu/2016/09/22/tattoo-therapy-could-ease-chronic-disease/
 
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