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Drug delivery to your brain

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A new techique may lead to treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy and motor neuron disease. Medical News reports:

Till date all attempts to get drugs into the brain were countered by the blood-brain barrier – the natural defense against potentially harmful chemicals floating around the body. However this new finding from a team from University of Oxford shows that now scientists have successfully switched off a gene implicated in Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of mice by exploiting tiny particles naturally released by cells, called exosomes.

These exosomes, injected into the blood, act as carriers of “drug vehicles” that can cross the impermeable blood-brain barrier to the brain where they are needed. The team at Oxford harvested exosomes from mouse dentritic cells, part of the immune system, which naturally produce large numbers of exosomes. They then fused the exosomes with targeting proteins from the rabies virus, which binds to acetylcholine receptors in brain cells, so the exosome would target the brain. They filled the exosomes with a piece of genetic code, siRNA, and injected them back into the mice. The siRNA was delivered to the brain cells and turned off a gene, BACE1, which is involved in Alzheimer’s disease. The authors reported a 60% reduction in the gene’s activity.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

March 22, 2011 at 6:26 am

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