Breaching the Blood-Brain Barrier to Deliver Precious Payloads

RNA-based drugs may change the standard of care for many diseases, making personalized medicine a reality. So far these cost-effective, easy-to-manufacture drugs haven’t been very useful in treating brain tumors and other brain disease. But a team of researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University has shown that a combination of ultrasound and RNA-loaded nanoparticles can temporarily open the protective blood-brain barrier, allowing the delivery of potent medicine to brain tumors.

Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier Linked to Brain Tissue Damage in Brain Aging Disease

As people age, changes in the tiniest blood vessels in the brain, a condition called cerebral small vessel disease, can lead to thinking and memory problems and stroke. These changes can also affect the blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells that protect the brain from toxins circulating in the blood. Now a new study has found that people with cerebral small vessel disease who have blood-brain barrier leakage had more brain tissue damage over two years than people with less blood-brain barrier leakage. The study is published in the March 24, 2021, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Could leak in blood-brain barrier cause poor memory?

One of the keys to having a healthy brain at any age is having a healthy blood-brain barrier, a complex interface of blood vessels that run through the brain. Research shows the blood-brain barrier leaks as we age, and we lose cells called pericytes. But could this leak and the difficulties in recall be the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease?

Brain Disease Research Reveals Differences Between Sexes

In APL Bioengineering, University of Maryland scientists highlight a growing body of research suggesting sex differences play roles in how patients respond to brain diseases, as well as multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, and other brain ailments. They are urging their colleagues to remember those differences when researching treatments and cures.

Poison control: Chasing the antidote

A fast-acting antidote to mitigate the effects of organophosphate poisoning requires a reactivator that can effectively and efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier, bind loosely to the enzyme, chemically snatch the poison and then leave quickly. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is using neutron diffraction data towards improving a novel reactivator design.