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McLean Report on nanotechnology that may enhance medication delivery and improve MRI performance
Date:5/1/2012

Belmont, MA - Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital have shown a new category of "green" nanoparticles comprised of a non-toxic, protein-based nanotechnology that can non-invasively cross the blood brain barrier and is capable of transporting various types of drugs.

In an article published May 1, 2012 online in PLoS ONE, Gordana Vitaliano, MD, director of the Brain Imaging NaNoTechnology Group at the McLean Hospital Imaging Center, reported that clathrin protein, a ubiquitous protein found in human, animal, plant, bacteria and fungi cells, can been modified for use as a nanoparticle for in-vivo studies. "Clathrin has never been modified for use in vivo and offers many new and interesting possibilities for delivering drugs and medical imaging agents into the brain", said Vitaliano.

Clathrin is the body's primary delivery vehicle responsible for delivering many different types of molecules into cells. Vitaliano therefore believed that the protein's naturally potent transport capabilities might be put to practical medical use for drug delivery and medical imaging.

"This study provides a new insight into utilizing bioengineered clathrin protein as a novel nanoplatform that passes the blood brain barrier," said Vitaliano, who successfully attached different fluorescent labels, commonly used in imaging, to functionalize clathrin nanoparticles. "We were able to show that the clathrin nanoparticles could be non-invasively delivered to the central nervous system (CNS) in animals. The clathrin performed significantly."

Of major importance for future clinical applications, Vitaliano also showed that clathrin crossed and/or bypassed the blood-brain barrier without enhancers or modifications, unlike other nanoparticles. These findings open the door to exploring new and important CNS medical applications.

One important medical application for clathrin nanoparticles would be Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). G
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Contact: Adriana Bobinchock
abobinchock@partners.org
617-855-2110
McLean Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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