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Smart Materials Used to Treat Uterine Fibroids

Dr. Darlene Taylor Uterine FibroidClick to Enlarge Imageis an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at North Carolina Central University. She uses molecular engineering to develop what she calls “smart materials”- substances that can sense and respond in some way to a change in their environment. Perhaps the most exciting use for smart materials is helping to deliver powerful drugs to specific target sites deep inside the body without affecting other tissues along the way.

These nano-substances can react to environmental changes, such as temperature changes, and can break down over time, which, in turn, can then release certain materials, such as a drug, to a specific area in the body. Taylor compares this substance to Jell-O with fruit inside it; a person can gouge around with a spoon and dislodge the fruit but the matrix, in this case the Jell-O, still keeps its original wiggly state. By using these substances, she is researching ways to provide a noninvasive therapy option for treating uterine fibroids.

Read her American Scientist article from February - March 2014: "Engineered Molecules for Smarter Medicines"

Read her publications.

Dr. Taylor discusses her research in an interview with Sandra Ackerman, senior editor at American Scientist magazine.

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