Purdue University researchers have developed a method of using nanoparticles to deliver treatments to injured brain and spinal cord cells. A team led by Richard Borgens of the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Paralysis Research and Welden School of Biomedical Engineering coated silica nanoparticles with a polymer to target and repair injured guinea pig spinal cords.
These coated nanoparticles were used to deliver both the polymer and hydralazine to cells with secondary damage from a naturally produced toxin. The group had previously shown benefits of the polymer polyethylene glycol, or PEG, to treat rats with brain injuries and dogs with spinal cord injuries. However, PEG’s composition and concentration limited how much PEG could be transported to the injury. For this reason, the team turned to silica nanoparticles for this purpose.
Borgens and his team introduced acrolein into cells and then treated the cells with different combinations of hydralazine and/or PEG delivered by the mesoporous silica nanoparticles and found that treatment restored disrupted cell function caused by acrolein.
The team concluded that the use of nanoparticles to deliver both PEG and hydralazine increased the effectiveness of earlier PEG-only treatment by controlling and concentrating release of the drug and the polymer, producing a dual treatment and prolonging the treatment’s duration