Dr. Lisandro Cunci

Universidad del Turabo

Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez

cuncil1@suagm.edu

 

“Brain Biocompatibility and Neuroavailability of grapheme oxide quantum dots”

PROJECT SUMMARY

The use of novel drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, among a vast number of other diseases that affect the brain, has been limited due to the high specificity of the blood-brain barrier to allow only certain molecules to cross. As life expectancy increases, the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases also increases. According to the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the cost of Alzheimer’s disease to Medicare and Medicaid in 2010 was $184 billion, and it is expected to increase to $1,167 billion by 2050, demonstrating the urgent need for novel tools to allow the delivery of drugs which would not otherwise be able to cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain. Moreover, the continuous improvements of these tools to treat neurodegenerative diseases require the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the transport of molecules through the blood-brain barrier. One of the most recent developments for biomedical applications is the use of highly biocompatible carbon-based nanoparticles, which have spanned from systemic drug delivery to bio imaging, however, their use in neuroscience has not been developed yet. As a result, it is of utmost importance to research thoroughly the biocompatibility of this biomaterial to generate novel drug delivery systems for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The design of successful treatments will not only alleviate the suffering of people, but also contribute to improve the well-being of the entire population, as well as reducing the burden of health care costs. In order to develop the use of carbon-based nanoparticles for the delivery of drugs into the brain, we propose to study their biocompatibility in neurons using brain slices, as well as an electrochemical technique for real-time monitoring of the concentration of nanoparticles in the brain.

Moreover, we will engineer carbon-based nanoparticles to cross the blood-brain barrier, which will allow them to access the brain while following their concentration using the electrochemical technique developed. We will use the knowledge obtained from the understanding of the mechanisms of entry into the brain, to improve the design and further develop novel tools for biomedical applications in neuroscience.