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Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) used light-activated nanoparticles and photoimaging to locate and image cells found in the arteries, cells that could lead to heart attacks and strokes.
MSU professor Bryan Smith and his team worked with researchers from Emory and Stanford universities to develop nanoparticles made from carbon (i.e., carbon nanotubes) that selectively target the types of immune cells that are abundant in inflammatory plaques. Though it is difficult to prove whether a particular plaque is responsible for a stroke or heart attack, the prevailing belief is that vulnerable plaques are the most dangerous, Smith said. These are inflammatory plaques that can rupture and consequently block blood vessels.