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Nanoparticles in lotion could be coming soon

Your skincare regimen may protect you from sun damage or boast an advanced formula for wrinkle resistance, but what has it done for you genetically?

Ed Yong writes for The Scientist:

Researchers at Northwestern University have created small nanoparticles that can silence disease-related genes in skin cells after being applied via a cream or ointment.

Described today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the particles consist of small strands of RNA, densely packed around a gold core. They were 100 times more effective at shutting down a target gene than an alternative method using lipids to carry RNA into cells, and showed no harmful effects after weeks of use. With further testing and development, they could provide new ways of treating skin cancer, psoriasis, and other skin disorders caused by faulty or overactive genes.

Yong writes that existing pill or intravenous treatments targeting the genes involved in skin diseases may spread to internal organs, thus introducing harmful side effects.

Previously: What does nanotechnology bring to medicine? and Nanomedicine moves one step closer to reality

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