Monday, October 24, 2016

Overcoming the Blood Brain Barrier

The world of medicine is evolving as scientists are finding new ways to make surgical procedures less invasive.  However, one procedure that is still difficult to achieve is being able to have medication pass across the blood brain barrier.The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a feature in the human body that protects the brain and controls the body homeostasis and ion channels. If there are any complications with the structure that can lead to neurodegernaration and neuroinflammation. 
 This poses issues for patients who suffer from neurodegenerative disorders because 95% of medication that is used cannot pass across the BBB intravenously or orally.  In order to administer medication to the brain the patients has to experience surgery to remove their skull so that the medication is injected directly into the site that needs treatment. One approach to solve this problem is determining if viruses can be administered to the affected location and introduces new genes to cells. It has been proven that harmless viruses can pass across the blood brain barrier. The viruses are able to hold different products such as drugs as well as entering the cell and taking over the cell’s DNA. In order to find the right viruses to enter into the brain the researchers used different shelled adeno-assosiated virus. After the different trials it was determined that a virus called AAV-PHP.B was the best at crossing over the blood brain barrier. The team of scientists injected mice and the path in which the virus went was tracked with green florescent. As the team observed the movement it was evident that the virus had reached a larger portion of the brain. In the future, this method could potentially be used to target other areas of the nervous system. This is a great step towards improving the way surgery is performed and will be cost effective. In addition, it will allow patients to carry out their lives unaffected with less recovery time with surgical procedures that are less invasive.

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