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Fungal protein found to cross blood-brain barrier
Date:6/12/2014

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According to Gelli, their discovery has significant therapeutic potential via two important mechanisms. Either Mpr1 or an aspect of the mechanism by which it crosses the blood-brain barrier could be a target of new drugs for treating meningitis caused by C. neoformans. In a person who develops cryptococcal lung infection, such a treatment would ideally make the fungus less likely to enter the brain and lead to a rapidly fatal meningitis.

Secondly, Mpr1 could be developed as part of a drug-delivery vehicle for brain infections and cancers. An antibiotic or cancer-fighting drug that is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier on its own could be attached to a nanoparticle containing Mpr1, allowing it to hitch a ride and deliver its goods to where it is needed.

"The biggest obstacle to treating many brain cancers and infections is getting good drugs through the blood-brain barrier," said Gelli. "If we could design an effective delivery system into the brain, the impact would be enormous for treating some of these terrible diseases."

Gelli's group is currently pursuing such a nanoparticle drug-delivery system using Mpr1. They are also further investigating the exact molecular mechanism by which Mpr1 breaches the blood-brain barrier.


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Contact: Carole Gan
carole.gan@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9047
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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