A new study released by medical researchers at UCSB may influence the future relationship of drugs and nanoparticles. Lead researcher and chemical engineering professor Samir Mitragotri helmed a team that looked into how polymeric nanoparticles might be used to deliver medicine into the human body. This technique has previously been limited by the fact that such particles are quickly expelled from a patient’s bloodstream. However, the UCSB team found that such medicinal injections can survive longer in the body if they are bonded to individual red blood cells – a phenomenon sometimes called “piggybacking” that has been observed in some species of bacteria that chemically latch onto cells. Though the study concentrated on polymeric nanoparticles, Mitragotri said the study’s discoveries may apply to other the nanoparticles as well. The study was published in the July issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.