Nanotechnology and STD Treatment

The news services have been buzzing over reports that nanomaterials could be used in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like HIV.

A team of Yale University researchers have been able to get short-interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules, which the body uses to produce viral suppressing proteins, to where they are needed to combat a viral infection.

The trick has been to attach the siRNA molecules to a biodegradable polymer, known as polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), that acts as the transportation for the siRNA so it reaches the site of the infection.

Needless to say this all pretty early-stage research having only advanced to cell cultures and not to mice tests as of yet. But the results have been impressive with the transport mechanism not only reaching the intended target but remaining in the tissue to continue fighting the infection for up to 14 days.


Tech Talk

IEEE Spectrum’s general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.