In what he believes might be the first “real and practical treatment for people with significant traumatic brain injury,” Northwestern’s John Kessler was able to significantly reduce brain swelling and damage by injecting nanoparticles into the bloodstream within two hours after the injury. The very promising technology has, so far, only been tested on mice.
After a traumatic brain injury, the body launches an inflammatory reaction that triggers a cascade of immune responses that result in brain swelling. Surgeons can open the skull to relieve the pressure, but the brain still continues to swell.”
The nanoparticles work as a decoy to distract the immune cells from charging into the brain and causing more damage. The immune modifying nanoparticles do not contain drugs or cargo.
After a traumatic brain injury, monocytes rush to the injury site and attempt to clean up debris from damaged brain cells and secrete inflammatory proteins that stimulate other immune cells. However, this produces swelling and inflammation that damages surrounding healthy brain tissue.
When the scientists inject the nanoparticles into the bloodstream shortly after the injury, these monocytes are tricked into thinking the nanoparticles are invading foreign materials. They engulf the particles and usher them to the spleen for disposal. The distracted monocytes are no longer around to enter the brain and cause problems.
In the study, mice that received the nanoparticles after a traumatic brain injury had greatly reduced swelling and half the damage to brain tissue compared to those who did not receive the nanoparticles. One of the injury models mimicked a closed head traumatic brain injury common in humans. In that model, the animals’ motor and visual function improved after the nanoparticle injection.
Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 at Quadrus Sand Hill Road. Speakers include: Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures – Mark Chevillet, Facebook – Shahin Farshchi, Lux Capital – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech – Sergiu Pasca, Stanford – Walter Greenleaf, Stanford – Sheng Xu, UC San Diego – Dror Ben-Zeev, University of Washington – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Unity Stoakes, StartUp Health – Garth Smith, Ontario Brain Institute – Erika Ross, Abbott Neuromodulation