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Researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have developed a gene therapy approach that may one day stop Parkinson’s disease (PD) in it tracks, preventing disease progression and reversing its symptoms

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Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor structure (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

http://experimentalbiology.org/EB/pages/default.aspx?splashpage=1

A noninvasive avenue for Parkinson’s disease gene therapy

Nanoparticles bypass the blood-brain barrier to treat Parkinson’s disease
April 26, 2013

Researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have developed a gene therapy approach that may one day stop Parkinson’s disease (PD) in it tracks, preventing disease progression and reversing its symptoms.

The novelty of the approach lies in the nasal route of administration and nanoparticles containing a gene capable of rescuing dying neurons in the brain.


Parkinson’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused by the death of dopamine neurons in a key motor area of the brain, the substantia nigra (SN). Loss of these neurons leads to the characteristic tremor and slowed movements of PD, which get increasingly worse with time.

Currently, more than 1% of the population over age 60 has PD and approximately 60,000 Americans are newly diagnosed every year. The available drugs on the market for PD mimic or replace the lost dopamine but do not get to the heart of the problem, which is the progressive loss of the dopamine neurons.


The focus of Dr. Barbara Waszczak‘s lab at Northeastern University in Boston is to find a way to harvest the potential of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) as a treatment for PD. GDNF is a protein known to nourish dopamine neurons by activating survival and growth-promoting pathways inside the cells.

Bypassing the blood-brain barrier

Not surprisingly, GDNF is able to protect dopamine neurons from injury and restore the function of damaged and dying neurons in many animal models of PD. However, the action of GDNF is limited by its inability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), thus requiring direct surgical injection into the brain.

To circumvent this problem, Waszczak’s lab is investigating intranasal delivery as a way to bypass the BBB. Their previous work showed that intranasal delivery of GDNF protects dopamine neurons from damage by the neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), a standard rat model of PD.

Taking this work a step further, Brendan Harmon, working in Waszczak’s lab, has adapted the intranasal approach so that cells in the brain can continuously produce GDNF. His work utilized nanoparticles, developed by Copernicus Therapeutics, Inc., which are able to transfect brain cells with an expression plasmid carrying the gene for GDNF (pGDNF).

When given intranasally to rats, these pGDNF nanoparticles increase GDNF production throughout the brain for long periods, avoiding the need for frequent re-dosing.

Now, in new research presented at Experimental Biology 2013 in Boston, Harmon reported that intranasal administration of Copernicus’ pGDNF nanoparticles results in GDNF expression sufficient to protect SN dopamine neurons in the 6-OHDA model of PD.

Waszczak and Harmon believe that intranasal delivery of Copernicus’ nanoparticles may provide an effective and non-invasive means of GDNF gene therapy for PD, and an avenue for transporting other gene therapy vectors to the brain.

This work, which was funded in part by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Northeastern University, has the potential to greatly expand treatment options for PD and many other central nervous system disorders.


8 Comments

  1. saminakhan2001 says:

    Reblogged this on MEDCHEMEGYPT.

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DR ANTHONY CRASTO

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DR ANTHONY MELVIN CRASTO Ph.D

DR ANTHONY MELVIN CRASTO Ph.D

DR ANTHONY MELVIN CRASTO, Born in Mumbai in 1964 and graduated from Mumbai University, Completed his Ph.D from ICT, 1991,Matunga, Mumbai, India, in Organic Chemistry, The thesis topic was Synthesis of Novel Pyrethroid Analogues, Currently he is working with GLENMARK PHARMACEUTICALS LTD, Research Centre as Principal Scientist, Process Research (bulk actives) at Mahape, Navi Mumbai, India. Total Industry exp 30 plus yrs, Prior to joining Glenmark, he has worked with major multinationals like Hoechst Marion Roussel, now Sanofi, Searle India Ltd, now RPG lifesciences, etc. He has worked with notable scientists like Dr K Nagarajan, Dr Ralph Stapel, Prof S Seshadri, Dr T.V. Radhakrishnan and Dr B. K. Kulkarni, etc, He did custom synthesis for major multinationals in his career like BASF, Novartis, Sanofi, etc., He has worked in Discovery, Natural products, Bulk drugs, Generics, Intermediates, Fine chemicals, Neutraceuticals, GMP, Scaleups, etc, he is now helping millions, has 9 million plus hits on Google on all Organic chemistry websites. His friends call him Open superstar worlddrugtracker. His New Drug Approvals, Green Chemistry International, All about drugs, Eurekamoments, Organic spectroscopy international, etc in organic chemistry are some most read blogs He has hands on experience in initiation and developing novel routes for drug molecules and implementation them on commercial scale over a 30 year tenure till date Dec 2017, Around 35 plus products in his career. He has good knowledge of IPM, GMP, Regulatory aspects, he has several International patents published worldwide . He has good proficiency in Technology transfer, Spectroscopy, Stereochemistry, Synthesis, Polymorphism etc., He suffered a paralytic stroke/ Acute Transverse mylitis in Dec 2007 and is 90 %Paralysed, He is bound to a wheelchair, this seems to have injected feul in him to help chemists all around the world, he is more active than before and is pushing boundaries, He has 9 million plus hits on Google, 2.5 lakh plus connections on all networking sites, 50 Lakh plus views on dozen plus blogs, He makes himself available to all, contact him on +91 9323115463, email amcrasto@gmail.com, Twitter, @amcrasto , He lives and will die for his family, 90% paralysis cannot kill his soul., Notably he has 19 lakh plus views on New Drug Approvals Blog in 216 countries......https://newdrugapprovals.wordpress.com/ , He appreciates the help he gets from one and all, Friends, Family, Glenmark, Readers, Wellwishers, Doctors, Drug authorities, His Contacts, Physiotherapist, etc

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