New Nanoparticle Detects Clogged Arteries

HDLs or 1) ___ ___ ___, are called good cholesterol because they penetrate artery-clogging plaque and carry away some of the bad cholesterol. Researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City have designed a nanoparticle, modeled on HDL particles, to improve the detection of such arterial 2) ___. Like HDLs, the new contrast agent enters fatty deposits on vessel walls. Under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the new 3) ___ shines brightly and highlights cholesterol buildups in partially blocked arteries. Current MRI contrast agents have no affinity for the 4) ___ plaque. The new plaque-seeking agent was created by binding atoms of 5) ___, an excellent MRI contrast agent – to a shortened, synthetic analog of the HDL protein. The researchers canceled gadolinium’s normal 6) ___ by attaching other molecules to the metal. In tests on seven mice, the new agent improved the detection of arterial plaques by almost 80%, compared with MRI using a conventional contrast agent. Within a few weeks, the agent will be tested in rabbits. If the synthetic HDL works as well in people, the new contrast agent will improve physicians’ ability to track the effectiveness of plaque-busting treatments. American Chemical Society 233rd National Meeting & Exposition – Chicago – April 2007