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Publication Detail
Pathological Mineralization: The Potential of Mineralomics.
Pathological mineralization has been reported countless times in the literature and is a well-known phenomenon in the medical field for its connections to a wide range of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases. The minerals involved in calcification, however, have not been directly studied as extensively as the organic components of each of the pathologies. These have been studied in isolation and, for most of them, physicochemical properties are hitherto not fully known. In a parallel development, materials science methods such as electron microscopy, spectroscopy, thermal analysis, and others have been used in biology mainly for the study of hard tissues and biomaterials and have only recently been incorporated in the study of other biological systems. This review connects a range of soft tissue diseases, including breast cancer, age-related macular degeneration, aortic valve stenosis, kidney stone diseases, and Fahr's syndrome, all of which have been associated with mineralization processes. Furthermore, it describes how physicochemical material characterization methods have been used to provide new information on such pathologies. Here, we focus on diseases that are associated with calcium-composed minerals to discuss how understanding the properties of these minerals can provide new insights on their origins, considering that different conditions and biological features are required for each type of mineral to be formed. We show that mineralomics, or the study of the properties and roles of minerals, can provide information which will help to improve prevention methods against pathological mineral build-up, which in the cases of most of the diseases mentioned in this review, will ultimately lead to new prevention or treatment methods for the diseases. Importantly, this review aims to highlight that chemical composition alone cannot fully support conclusions drawn on the nature of these minerals.
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