Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


McLean Report on nanotechnology that may enhance medication delivery and improve MRI performance

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital have shown a new category of "green" nanoparticles comprised of a non-toxic, protein-based nanotechnology that can non-invasively cross the blood brain barrier and is capable of transporting various types of drugs.

In an article published May 1, 2012 online in PLoS ONE, Gordana Vitaliano, MD, director of the Brain Imaging NaNoTechnology Group at the McLean Hospital Imaging Center, reported that clathrin protein, a ubiquitous protein found in human, animal, plant, bacteria and fungi cells, can been modified for use as a nanoparticle for in-vivo studies.

"Clathrin has never been modified for use in vivo and offers many new and interesting possibilities for delivering drugs and medical imaging agents into the brain", said Vitaliano.

Clathrin is the body's primary delivery vehicle responsible for delivering many different types of molecules into cells. Vitaliano therefore believed that the protein's naturally potent transport capabilities might be put to practical medical use for drug delivery and medical imaging.

"This study provides a new insight into utilizing bioengineered clathrin protein as a novel nanoplatform that passes the blood brain barrier," said Vitaliano, who successfully attached different fluorescent labels, commonly used in imaging, to functionalize clathrin nanoparticles. "We were able to show that the clathrin nanoparticles could be non-invasively delivered to the central nervous system (CNS) in animals. The clathrin performed significantly."

Of major importance for future clinical applications, Vitaliano also showed that clathrin crossed and/or bypassed the blood-brain barrier without enhancers or modifications, unlike other nanoparticles. These findings open the door to exploring new and important CNS medical applications.

One important medical application for clathrin nanoparticles would be Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Gadolinium contrast agents are often used to improve MRI performance. In one configuration, Vitaliano found that functionalized clathrin nanoparticles performed 8,000 times better than an FDA approved MRI contrast agent (gadopentetate dimeglumine).

"Stated another way, it means 8,000 times less gadolinium might be required for achieving good MRI results. Because very low gadolinium concentrations would be required for MRI, it could significantly decrease gadolinium toxicity, which is an important issue," explained Vitaliano. "Clathrin transported gadolinium is therefore among the most potent, biocompatible contrast agents available."

These results in two different applications showed that clathrin offers substantial functionalization and transport flexibility. Purified clathrin nanoparticles could therefore serve as an appealing alternative to other medical nanoplatforms such as dendrimers, nanogels, solid lipid nanospheres, liposomes, and the like.

Given the critical need for new types of CNS drug transport capabilities, Vitaliano said her work would likely be of interest to researchers involved in neuroimaging and neuroscience, but also to radiologists, bioengineers, chemists, physicists, material scientists, biomedical researchers, and other researchers active at the frontiers of imaging and drug delivery.

Looking ahead, Vitaliano noted that her findings may also facilitate other studies for examining signaling pathways in different diseases that rely in whole or in part on clathrin transport, and thus may have a substantial impact in multiple fields.

McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric clinical care, teaching and research facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare. For more information about McLean Hospital, visit

Adriana Bobinchock | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>