Small fatty spheres can sneak into the brain and deliver a genetic payload, providing hope that gene therapy could be used to treat such cognitive disorders as Parkinson’s disease.
The blood-brain barrier typically keeps the brain free of molecules not recognized by cell receptors that line brain capillaries.
Viruses used for most gene therapy are too big to pass through the blood-brain barrier, making it difficult to use the treatment approach for cognitive disorders.
William Pardridge of the University of California, Los Angeles is leading an effort to instead use tiny spheres called liposomes to carry hidden genes into the brain.
New Scientist is now reporting that Pardridge and his team have had success getting the spheres into monkey brains and have used liposomes to successfully treat rats with Parkinson’s-like symptoms.