At the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma special nanoparticles are being studied as a potential treatment for retinal disease. Nanoceria, a type of nanoparticle made out of cerium oxide molecules has some interesting properties, including the ability to scavenge free oxygen radicals.
From the Review of Ophthalmology:
James F. McGinnis, PhD, professor of cell biology and ophthalmology at the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute in Oklahoma City, Okla., is using nanoceria to treat retinal damage and diseases. “The property that got me interested in nanoceria is its ability to destroy reactive oxygen species, which are extremely reactive with any other molecule,” he says. “When they’re formed inside a cell, they don’t go very far because they react with the nearest molecules. But nanoceria also has another interesting ability: It can convert the target molecule to water and then return to its pre-reaction state, so it’s ready to eliminate another molecule.
“These nanoparticles are inorganic, and because of that, they’re non-inflammatory and nonimmunogenic, at least at the concentrations we’ve tested so far,” he continues. “They’re extremely small—about 3 to 5 nm in diameter. For comparison, a red blood cell has a diameter of 7,500 nm. Also, the effective concentrations used so far have been extremely small—about 5 nanomolar, or five billionths of a mole.”