Researchers at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity have devel­oped a treat­ment for Parkinson’s dis­ease meant to revive dying neu­rons in the brain via delivery through the nose.

The Boston researchers were able to treat the symp­toms of Parkinson’s–a decrease of motor func­tion that results in tremors and slowed movements–with a pro­tein called glial cell line-​​derived neu­rotrophic factor, or GDNF. The pro­tein acts directly on the motor area of the brain, the sub­stantia nigra, pre­venting the degen­er­a­tion and death of the neu­rons there. Other drugs mimic or replace lost dopamine in the brain, according to a report in Busi­ness Stan­dard, but the GDNF pro­tein stops the degen­er­a­tive quality of the disease.

How­ever, GDNF doesn’t easily cross the blood-​​brain bar­rier, so the therapy called for a new drug delivery method. And rather than sur­gi­cally placing the pro­teins in the brain, the sci­en­tists opted for intranasal delivery, allowing direct trans­port of the GDNF to the nec­es­sary area.

What’s more, the team, led by Bar­bara Waszczak and Brendan Harmon, con­cocted a genetic treat­ment that uses the same delivery method. Using nanopar­ti­cles devel­oped by Coper­nicus Ther­a­peu­tics, they deliv­ered not only the GDNF but also a gene that codes for the pro­tein into the brain, enabling the pro­duc­tion of GDNF and allowing more time between doses. In studies on rats, the new gene pro­tected the dopamine neu­rons and tem­pered the symp­toms of Parkinson’s, according to the report.


Read the article at FierceDrugDelivery →