, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 2459-2474
Date: 27 Apr 2013

Nanoparticles in the Brain: A Potential Therapeutic System Targeted to an Early Defect Observed in Many Neurodegenerative Diseases

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Currently, there are no effective treatments or cures for many neurodegenerative diseases affecting an aging baby-boomer generation. The ongoing problem with many of the current therapeutic treatments is that most are aimed at dissolving or dissociating aggregates and preventing cell death, common neuropathology often seen towards the end stage of disease. Often such treatments have secondary effects that are more devastating than the disease itself. Thus, effective therapeutics must be focused on directly targeting early events such that global deleterious effects of drugs are minimized while beneficial therapeutic effects are maximized. Recent work indicates that in many neurodegenerative diseases long distance axonal transport is perturbed, leading to axonal blockages. Axonal blockages are observed before pathological or behavioral phenotypes are seen indicating that this pathway is perturbed early in disease. Thus, developing novel therapeutic treatments to an early defect is critical in curing disease. Here I review neurodegenerative disease and current treatment strategies, and discuss a novel nanotechnology based approach that is aimed at targeting an early pathway, with the rationale that restoring an early problem will prevent deleterious downstream effects. To accomplish this, knowledge exchange between biologists, chemists, and engineers will be required to manufacture effective novel biomaterials for medical use.