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Biotech

Submission + - Nanomaterials offer hope for cerebral palsy (nature.com)

ananyo writes: By tacking drugs onto molecules targeting rogue brain cells, researchers have alleviated symptoms in newborn rabbits that are similar to those of cerebral palsy in children.
According the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 303 children have cerebral palsy by age 8, which usually results from neurological damage in the womb, caused by a kink in the umbilical cord that briefly diminishes the fetus' oxygen, or maternal infection. Such injuries lead to the activation of immune cells in the brain called microglia and astrocytes, which cause further inflammation and exacerbate the damage.
Cerebral palsy is currently incurable. Anti-inflammatory drugs don’t easily cross the blood–brain barrier and those that do tend to diffuse nonspecifically.
The team attached an anti-inflammatory drug, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), to synthetic, snowflake-shaped molecules called dendrimers, and injected the conjugates into the bloodstream of newborn rabbits with experimentally injured brains. The dendrimers transported the drug across the blood–brain barrier and released it directly into the activated microglia and astrocytes, halting further inflammation and improving motor function so that the rabbits could hop again (abstract).

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Nanomaterials offer hope for cerebral palsy

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