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Researchers use nanoparticles to deliver treatment for brain, spinal cord injuries
Date:10/1/2008

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers have developed a method of using nanoparticles to deliver treatments to injured brain and spinal cord cells.

A team led by Richard Borgens of the School of Veterinary Medicine's Center for Paralysis Research and Welden School of Biomedical Engineering coated silica nanoparticles with a polymer to target and repair injured guinea pig spinal cords. That research is being published in the October edition of the journal Small.

The team then used the coated nanoparticles to deliver both the polymer and hydralazine to cells with secondary damage from a naturally produced toxin. That research was published in August by the journal Nanomedicine.

Borgens' group had previously shown benefits of the polymer polyethylene glycol, or PEG, to treat rats with brain injuries and dogs with spinal cord injuries. PEG specifically targets damaged cells and seals the injured area, reducing further damage. It also helps restore cell function, Borgens said.

In previous studies, PEG was mixed with saline and injected.

"Composition and concentration limited how much PEG we could get to the injury," he said.

"If you change the composition to make the PEG more potent, it produces ethylene glycol, the poison in antifreeze. If you change the concentration of PEG in another way, the solution becomes syrupy and difficult to inject."

So the team - which includes Youngnam Cho of the Center for Paralysis Research, Riyi Shi of the center and Weldon School, and Albena Ivanisevic of Weldon School and the Department of Chemistry - turned to silica nanoparticles.

"These particles are so tiny they can't be seen with a regular microscope. They are about the size of a large virus. So you can inject as many as you need. And they are safe inside bodies," Borgens said.

In the first study, the researchers coated the nanoparticles with PEG to treat guinea pig s
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Contact: Judith Barra Austin
jbaustin@purdue.edu
765-494-2432
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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