Tracing molecules’ movement in nails may help fight fungus | Science News


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Tracing molecules’ movement in nails may help fight fungus

Microscopy method analyzes chemical flow for clues to developing potential drugs

3:00pm, June 8, 2015
imaging technique tracks heavy water

AS WATER FLOWS   An advanced imaging technique tracks heavy water (D2O) as it penetrates a human nail. The water quickly gets below the surface (red, in 10 minutes) then seeps deeper over time (progression of cooler colors). 

A high-tech way to trace chemicals flowing through human nails might inspire better ways to fight fungus attacks.

Being tough as nails is a problem when treating fungal infections and other nail diseases. A nail’s tightly knit protein networks can block surface medications from reaching affected areas inside the nail. But an advanced imaging technology that can track chemicals’ movement through nails could help develop better treatments, researchers report online June 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Improving drug formulas is a challenge, because it’s hard to measure how much of a drug a nail absorbs, says pharmaceutical chemist Richard Guy, of the University of Bath in England. Guy and colleagues, with collaborators at the University of Exeter in England, used an imaging technique called stimulated Raman

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