Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Nanoparticles Used To Deliver Gene Therapy
According to a paper published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say they have superseded previous methods of gene delivery into living organisms, without the usual side-effects. Instead of using potentially toxic and unstable viral vectors, University of Buffalo (UB) scientists developed and customized nanoparticles that they successfully used to deliver genes into the brains of living mice. The new findings build on previous research from the same institution.

The new paper describes how the UB scientists used gene-nanoparticle complexes to activate adult brain stem/progenitor cells in-vivo, demonstrating that it may be possible to "turn on" these otherwise idle cells as effective replacements for those destroyed by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's. In addition to repairing damaged brain cells, UB researchers say that the nano-particles provide promising models for studying the genetic mechanisms of brain disease.