Posted on Aug 13, 2009, 1 p.m.
For brain disease patients of the future, the delivery of stem cell therapy may be as simple as a quick sniff. William Frey, an adjunct professor of pharmaceutics and University of Minnesota researcher in collaboration with principal investigator Lusine Danielyan of the University Hospital of Tuebingen, Germany and his colleagues have shown that when stem are suspended in a fluid and snorted, they travel rapidly to the brain and arrive intact.
In the study, within an hour after subject mice sniffed droplets containing adult rat stem cells, the rat cells had migrated to the mice brains. The experiment was just as successful when they substituted the rat stem cells with human brain tumor cells. The effectiveness of this delivery technology was tripled when the mice first snorted hyaluronidase, an enzyme known to make connective tissue more permeable.
The researchers speculated that the cells found their way to the brain via the olfactory nerves through small holes in the cribriform plate and through the blood vessels that pass from the nose to the brain.
The team sees their delivery technique potentially benefiting patients with a wide variety of diseases. "Intranasal delivery of therapeutic cells could potentially benefit the treatment of head injury, stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and so on," says Frey.
They also believes this method of delivery is not limited to stem cells, but could be an important non-invasive and convenient method for delivering a wide range of medicinal treatment.
The team has applied for a patent for their delivery technology and will continue researching to determine how long the stem cells remain in the brain, and whether inflammation and infection results.
News Source: www.umn.edu