Take a look at the future for osteoporosis drug therapy.

Research into drug delivery systems is hot, especially in the arena of nanotechnology. In a series of studies based at Penn State University and Boston University, researchers used self-powered nanoparticles to deliver medication (alendronate) right to the doorsteps of bone cracks themselves.

Molecules moving inside a nanotube

Interestingly, when microfractures occur in bone there forms a very small electric field. This small change in ionic gradient is all it takes for introduced negatively charged nanoparticles to migrate to the crack. When medication is attached to these particles, it can be delivered to the site where it can make the most impact…at the microfractures. When it comes to osteoporosis medications, this may help improve effectiveness and reduce adverse effects (by requiring less medication).

According to Yadav et al. in a paper published in Angewandte Chemie, “Bone cracks are detected by utilizing the damaged matrix itself as both the trigger and the fuel. A crack in a material with a high mineral content like bone generates ion gradients, which can be utilized for active targeting and treatment.”

Yadav, V. et al. 2013. Bone-crack detection, targeting, and repair using ion gradients. Angewandte Chemie doi:10.1002/anle.201305759.