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'Buckyballs' to treat multiple sclerosis
Date:3/19/2009

If you're of a certain age, you'll remember Buckminster Fuller's distinctive "geodesic domes" soccer-ball-shaped structures that the late futurist envisioned as ideal human domiciles. Tel Aviv University chemists remember them too and are now putting them to use in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

In partnership with a group of Prof. Howard Weiner from Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Michael Gozin from TAU's School of Chemistry is attempting to create the next generation MS drug based on a delivery platform of "buckyballs," small soccer-ball-shaped molecules sometimes called fullerenes. Made from pure carbon, the buckyballs can function as invigorating antioxidants to keep neurons in the brain alive and kicking.

There is currently no cure for MS, which slowly paralyzes and then kills.

Buckyballs and related carbon nanotubes have enormous potential to be used in sensors and electronic applications allowing scientists to manufacture much more smaller and faster processors. These carbon-based materials have a huge range of possibilities in nanotechnology applications as well.

Until now, buckyball-derived therapeutics have not been used in medicine. But the TAU and Harvard teams believe that they may resolve issues related to this nanomaterial development, and are seeking to commercialize their patented invention. If successful, the TAU-Harvard collaboration could provide new hope to millions of MS sufferers, and would make Bucky himself proud.

On the Medicine Ball

The TAU team is the first in the world to have synthesized a brain-targeted antioxidant to treat affected neurons in the brain. Pre-clinical trials, the researchers report, proved successful in animal models. They are also attempting to apply the same technology to the treatment of Alzheimers disease, but a reliable and effective treatment for MS is their primary goal.

MS is an autoimmune
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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