The injection of organically modified silica (ORMOSIL) nanoparticles in the brain offers a promising potential new vehicle for drug delivery to treat degenerative brain conditions, such as Alzheimer's, a new study has revealed.
Using fruit flies, it was found by researchers at the University of Buffalo that nanoparticles do not harm cells or interfere with the brain's normal function.
"These results are really fascinating because these particles do not show any toxic effects on the whole organism or the neuronal cells," stated Dr Shermali Gunawardena, lead researcher on the study.
The discovery means that each particle could potentially be filled with helpful chemical compounds or gene therapies to send to different parts of the human body.
However, Dr Gunawardena hopes to use ORMOSIL to target problems in neurons that cause neurodegenerative disorders.
University of Buffalo researchers had previously managed to insert ORMOSIL nanoparticles into the brains of living mice with an efficiency that is similar to viral vectors.
The nanoparticle complexes were used to activate adult brain stem/progenitor cells in vivo, demonstrating that it may be possible to activate these otherwise idle cells as effective replacements for those destroyed by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
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