New Technology Makes Noninvasive Drugs Delivery Treat Brain Tissue Damage

First Posted: Jul 02, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

Traumatic brain injury contributes to about 30 percent of the total injury-related death in the US. A new technology has been devised to help doctors efficiently deliver helpful drugs to the injured area of the brain in a non-invasive way. It is believed to be helpful treat traumatic brain injuries that range from mild concussion to accidents that could cause memory loss.

According to Medical News Today, the study was led by researchers from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA. It showed how a peptide sequence could target and repair brain tissue damage that usually happens after a traumatic brain surgery (TBI).

"Current interventions for acute brain injury are aimed at stabilizing the patient by reducing intracranial pressure and maintaining blood flow, but there are no approved drugs to stop the cascade of events that cause secondary injury," said first author Aman Mann, post-doctoral researcher at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in the United States.

The researchers found a peptide sequence of four amino acids, cysteine, alanine, glutamine, and lysine (CAQK), which recognizes injured brain tissue. Using mouse models of acute brain injury, this CAQK transported the drug-sized molecules and nanoparticles to the damaged areas.

"This peptide could be used to deliver treatments that limit the extent of damage," reported senior study author and professor Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti. Mann also said that current therapies for acute brain injuries try to stabilize the victim by reducing intracranial pressure and keeping the blood flow. However, according to Tech Times, there isn't any approved drug that can stop certain situations that may contribute to a secondary injury.

During preclinical trials, over 100 compounds were tested to reduce damage to the brain after an injury. The goal is to block secondary damage like high free radical levels, inflammation, over-excitation of brains and signaling that results in cell death. also reported Ruoslahti explained in the paper published in the journal Nature Communications saying, "Our goal was to find an alternative to directly injecting therapeutics into the brain, which is invasive and can add complications. This peptide could be used to deliver treatments that limit the extent of damage,"

Furthermore, when CAQK was tested on human brain tissue, the researchers observed that it attached to the same proteins as in the mice. The results show that the CAQK peptide can be used to carry drugs intravenously to the damaged brain tissue after a traumatic brain injury, which is a noninvasive alternative to directly injecting drugs to the brain.

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