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To fight drug addiction, UB researchers target the brain with nanoparticles
Date:3/24/2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A precise, new nanotechnology treatment for drug addiction may be on the horizon as the result of research conducted at the University at Buffalo.

Scientists in UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics and UB's Department of Medicine have developed a stable nanoparticle that delivers short RNA molecules in the brain to "silence" or turn off a gene that plays a critical role in many kinds of drug addiction.

The UB team's in vitro findings were published online the week of March 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"These findings mean that in the future, we might be able to add a powerful pharmaceutical agent to the current arsenal of weapons in order to more effectively fight a whole range of substance addictions," said Paras N. Prasad, Ph.D., executive director of the UB Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the departments of Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering and Medicine, who led the UB team.

The new approach developed by the UB researchers also may be applicable to treating Parkinson's disease, cancer and a range of other neurologic and psychiatric disorders, which require certain drugs to be delivered to the brain.

At the same time, the study's co-authors in the UB Department of Medicine say this highly translational research strongly suggests that the nanoparticles would be applicable to other diseases. They will soon begin to study their use in treating AIDS dementia, prostate cancer and asthma.

"The findings of this study tell us that these nanoparticles are both a safe and very efficient way of delivering to a variety of tissues highly sophisticated new drugs that turn off abnormal genes," said Stanley A. Schwartz, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the UB departments of Medicine, Pediatrics and Microbiology, director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology in the UB School of Medicine
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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1415
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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