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Dr. Kazunori Kataoka, COINS Research Leader (Director General of iCONM, Professor of Policy Alternatives Research Institute, The University of Tokyo) , Dr. Yasutaka Anraku, Guest Scientis of iCONM (Project Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo), Dr. Takanori Yokota, Professor of Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Dr.Hiroya Kuwahara, Project Professor of Tokyo Medical and Dental University succeeded in developing "BBB-crossing nanomachines (note2)" which enter the brain via a systemic route.
These machines cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which normally impedes drug delivery to the brain, to efficiently reach neurons for glycemic control. Even small molecule drugs that can pass through the BBB do not necessarily have sufficient transit efficiency, and advanced medicines made of high molecular weight substances, such as antibodies and nucleic acids, scarcely enter the brain. Therefore, crossing the BBB is a major impediment to the development of drugs for the cerebral nervous system such as those needed for Alzheimer's disease. The BBB-crossing nanomachines developed by the research team use a novel mechanism to pass through the BBB in response to an external stimulus (glucose), and accumulate in the brain. Notably, the nanomachines are expressed at a remarkably high level compared to many other existing technologies.
It was also demonstrated that nanomachines that crossed the BBB reached the targeted neurons and may be useful for treatment of many cranial nervous system diseases.
The BBB crossing nanomachine developed in the medical-engineering collaboration system is a basic technology for delivering various drugs to the brain, it is anticipated that it will be developed into a breakthrough therapeutic drug development for intractable cerebral nerve system diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, etc. in which truly effective therapy has not been established.
This research was conducted with the support of "Center of Innovation (COI) Program", one of the main funding programs under the Center of Innovation Science and Technology based Radical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (COI STREAM) operated by Japan Science and Tecxhnology Agency (JST).