Project in Detail
"A Neurotechnology to Deliver Drugs Across the Blood-Brain Barrier and Treat Alzheimer's Disease"
The blood-brain barrier (BBB), which prevents large molecules passing from the blood into the brain is a major hurdle to treating brain diseases. One of the main strategies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease are to limit production or aggregation of the amyloid β peptides implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. While early versions of drugs were successful in vitro, an inability to penetrate the BBB left them unsuccessful in in vivo models. Newer small drugs, designed to cross the BBB, suffer from reduced potency and specificity, introducing the probability of harmful off-target effects due to the higher doses required.
We have shown that non-invasively administered ultrasound pulses can produce controlled, temporary changes to BBB permeability (Choi JJ et al., PNAS. 2011). The purpose of this is to develop and test a new short-pulse ultrasound delivery method (Pouliopoulos AN et al., J Acoust Soc Am. 2016) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and evaluate its performance in reducing/halting the progression, modelled in transgenic experimental models. In allowing large molecule drug delivery to the brain, or targeted small molecule delivery at lower doses, this has the potential to revive previously shelved therapies that have shown great promise for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.