Nano 'vehicles' could deliver meds to treat brain trauma, disease - study

Researchers from the Technion and the Houston Methodist Research Institute have developed microscopic machines that can deliver drugs to parts of the brain in order to treat injuries and diseases.

"Neurosomes" - Humanized Biomimetic nano vesicles (red) for neuron targeting (green) (photo credit: TECHNION SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
"Neurosomes" - Humanized Biomimetic nano vesicles (red) for neuron targeting (green)
(photo credit: TECHNION SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

Treating people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries is usually a delicate, complex and risky task – even more so when the body rejects treatment, causing an inflammatory response.

One method that shows promise is the delivery of medicine to neurons via microscopic machines or "vehicles" called nanovesicles (NVs), which can bypass the immune response by mimicking cells.

Assistant Prof. Assaf Zinger from the Technion – Israel Insitute of Technology and Dr. Caroline Cvetkovic from the HMRI's Center for Neuroregeneration have developed NVs that can effectively transport medicines in this manner. They recently published their findings in Advanced Science.

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Assaf Zinger (credit: TECHNION SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Assaf Zinger (credit: TECHNION SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

The NVs, which are about a millionth the width of a human hair, are coated in proteins that are found in naturally-occurring cell membranes, disguising them as cells so the body does not reject them, according to a statement from the Technion.

Zinger believes the research will revolutionize the treatment of brain injuries and diseases.

"If we could immediately deliver anti-inflammatory drugs to the brain, we could reduce the inflammatory processes, and hopefully prevent fatalities and long-term disabilities," he said in a statement.