A group of scientists from the University of Washington has published a paper in the journal Science that proposes a new class of synthetic collagen, derived from the natural molecules collagen and collagen peptides, could be a promising way to improve our health.
The researchers suggest that by creating these new synthetic molecules, which are able to bind to the collagen proteins, we could be able to “predict and improve” the health of our arteries and veins, according to a news release from the university.
The researchers say that synthetic collagen could be used in a variety of medical conditions and in the prevention and treatment of disease.
“Collagen peptide nanoparticles have the potential to offer new therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, heart failure and neurodegenerative disorders,” said lead author Dr. Robert J. Sacks, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University.
Collagen and peptide molecules are very different, but they work together in some ways to help the body keep the body’s cells in working order.
The researchers say the nanoparticles could be injected into the blood stream, where they would be absorbed and transported into the cells in the blood vessels.
Once in the cells, the nanoparticle would then interact with the peptide molecule and help the cells function normally, Sacks said.
This would help the heart function properly and deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
Sacks said that these new compounds could also help to fight certain types of cancer and heart attacks, such as the acute myocardial infarction (AMI), which occurs when blood clots and thins.
Other research groups are exploring the use of synthetic nanoparticles to treat various diseases, including the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
A key component of these synthetic nanoparticle molecules is a protein called the protein phosphorylase, which is a type of protein that is responsible for breaking down collagen and other molecules.
These synthetic peptides can be injected directly into the muscle and injected into a wound.
Sack said that if the nanopide molecules were injected into cells that are in trouble, they would allow the cells to function normally.
They could also assist in repairing damage, he said.
The study, published in the Journal of Collagen Science, is a collaboration between researchers at the UW and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“This work is important to demonstrate the importance of synthetic peptide nanomaterials to cardiovascular disease and to develop new therapeutic strategies to treat diseases such as CTE,” said Dr. Richard J. Tompkins, director of the NIH Center for Nanomaterial Science.
While synthetic peptidermides are already used in the treatment for several diseases, Sacked said they may be useful in other areas of medicine.
“We hope to use these novel materials in clinical trials and other medical applications to address the many challenges associated with treating diseases such a CTE or AMI,” Sacks added.