Navigation Links
International scientists tackle obstacles to treating brain disorders
Date:12/20/2007

A research team led by scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Oregon Health & Science University have outlined the challenges and made suggestions on how to advance research and improve treatments for brain disorders.

The review article is published in the January 2008 issue of the Lancet Neurology and will be available online on December 17.

Many neurological disorders are difficult to treat because of a natural barrier in the brain. The blood-brain barrier is a specialized system of cells that acts as a gatekeeper for the brain, blocking harmful substances from entering while allowing in necessary nutrients. The barrier is necessary to keep the brain and nervous system healthy. However, it also causes problems in medication delivery because it treats medications as the enemy, preventing the therapeutic agents from doing their job.

In order to develop new and innovative treatments for diseases such as stroke, Alzheimers disease, and multiple sclerosis, researchers have to find ways to overcome the blood-brain barrier, said Lester Drewes, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus. The review has resulted in a number of recommendations to establish and fund research centers that will focus on overcoming these barriers. Drewes is the founding president of the International Brain Barriers Society, a forum for scientists to share their research and fast track discoveries related to the blood-brain barrier. He and 14 other scientists wrote the review.

Edward Neuwelt, M.D., a professor of neurology and neurological surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine and a physician at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is among the most active scientists in the international community studying the blood-brain barrier. Neuwelt also was a major participant in the review.

The blood-brain barrier is the Achilles heel for treating virtually all neurological disorders, said Neuwelt, director of OHSUs Blood-Brain Barrier Program. However, like the Great Wall of China, there are portals in the barrier that, with proper research, offer a way through. Neuwelt studies ways to open the blood-brain barrier. Other investigators are studying a Trojan horse approach in which therapeutic agents are attached to parts of proteins, such as insulin, that normally cross the barrier.

The researchers examined six topic areas surrounding brain barriers that need to be addressed in order to advance scientific understanding and ultimately improve patient care: Inflammation, injury, tumors, neurodegeneration, specialized barriers, and delivery.

When the brain is injured, as in the case of a stroke, the blood-brain barrier is altered near the site of injury. Changes in the barrier have an effect on how the injury progresses and how much neural tissue is damaged. The researchers suggest that better imaging techniques must be developed to better view the barrier near the injury site.

Improved imaging will also help in furthering research into the effect of brain barriers on tumors. Current imaging techniques do not accurately show the tumors size, location, type, and response to therapy.

In the study of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinsons, the researchers said often brain barrier is overlooked or only viewed as a barrier to drug delivery. The article suggests that brain barriers play a larger role in the progression of degenerative disease, and that researchers should focus on how the changes in the barriers relate to brain degeneration during the aging process.

In addition to the blood-brain barrier, there are other more specialized barriers in the brain that function in different ways. The scientists suggest that more research needs to be done on how these barriers act alone and in concert with other barriers. Currently there are only limited experimental models of these specialized barriers, and thus little is understood about how they function.

Drug delivery to the brain is extremely complicated. Researchers estimate that very little of therapeutic drugs make it beyond the blood-brain barrier and because of this, progress developing therapies for brain disease is very slow.

The researchers suggest more interdisciplinary research into drug delivery options that would bring together biologists, pharmaceutical scientists, and bioengineers.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sara Buss
buss@umn.edu
612-626-7037
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. BIO-key(R) International to Showcase Deployed Biometric Security Applications at 2007 Biometric Technology Expo
2. ESMO International Symposium on Immunology
3. Conservation International and Toyota partner to protect Philippines rain forests
4. International team shows mercury concentrations in fish respond quickly to increased deposition
5. International team shows mercury concentrations in fish respond quickly to increased deposition
6. BIO-key(R) International to Showcase Deployed Biometric Security Applications at 2007 Biometric Technology Expo
7. Youngstown, Ohio Police Award Mobile Data Contract to BIO-key(R) International
8. Clemson physicist addresses international forum on thermoelectric energy
9. US launch of international consultation for new responsible nanocode
10. International team of scientists warns of climate changes impact on global river flow
11. BIO-key International Showcasing Innovative Public Safety Solutions at 2007 IACP Conference
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/1/2016)... NEW YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Biometric Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to ... According to a recently released TechSci Research report, " ... Sector, By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - ... $ 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a ... the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making ... aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA ... Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a ... STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Andrew D Zelenetz , ... Published recently in Oncology & ... Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the fact ... placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems worldwide, ... the patents on many biologics expiring, interest in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: