Nanoparticles that target specific spots in the body have usually been developed for oncologists to attack tumors. A team of researchers at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine wanted to see whether nanoparticles ferrying local anesthetics could be effective in perioperative anesthesia and analgesia. Specifically, they evaluated whether a nanoparticle-delivered peripheral nerve block exhibits any benefits over traditional blocks.
The scientists created nanoparticles that contained magnetite, a ferrous mineral, coupled to ropivacaine, a commonly used local anesthetic. In a manner resembling the Bier block, the particles were injected via IV into lab mice and a magnet was placed by the ankles to concentrate the material in the area. Though the intravascular injection contained 14 times more ropivacaine than a standard ankle block given to control mice, the local anesthetic effect was comparable, but without creating side effects that would normally occur at such high doses. The findings show promise for a more targeted delivery of local and regional anesthesia that would help prevent other regions of the body from being affected and leading to greater safety for patients.
Press release: ‘Nano-Anesthesia’: A New Approach to Local Anesthesia?