Using rabies to deliver drugs directly to the brain

Marilyn sez, "Harvard Medical School researchers have developed an ingenious way to deliver drugs directly to the brain (in order to kill a tumor, for example), that uses the virus that causes rabies, which is extremely effective in infiltrating the blood brain barrier that blocks most other kinds of molecules."

In this study, the drug was injected into the tail of the mice, targeting the blood vessels. Using small interfering RNA (siRNA) as a drug treatment for many diseases has been powerfully successful in other animal models, but the problem has always been the process of making it a practical drug for clinical application. Therefore, this new technology developed by Kumar et al sheds light into a new, non-invasive and feasible way to deliver siRNA specifically to the brain.

siRNA is gaining popularity as a preferred drug treatment method since its early conception in the past seven years. It takes advantage of the cell's ability to stop its own protein production as soon as a short RNA sequence corresponding to the protein is detected outside of the cell's nucleus. This triggers a powerful protein synthesis arrest, which can be harnessed to modulate or treat diseases such as diabetes, Hepatitis C, and even transplant rejection.


(Thanks, Marilyn!)