49 research outputs found

    A Unique Carrier for Delivery of Therapeutic Compounds beyond the Blood-Brain Barrier

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    BACKGROUND: Therapeutic intervention in many neurological diseases is thwarted by the physical obstacle formed by the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that excludes most drugs from entering the brain from the blood. Thus, identifying efficacious modes of drug delivery to the brain remains a "holy grail" in molecular medicine and nanobiotechnology. Brain capillaries, that comprise the BBB, possess an endogenous receptor that ferries an iron-transport protein, termed p97 (melanotransferrin), across the BBB. Here, we explored the hypothesis that therapeutic drugs "piggybacked" as conjugates of p97 can be shuttled across the BBB for treatment of otherwise inoperable brain tumors. APPROACH: Human p97 was covalently linked with the chemotherapeutic agents paclitaxel (PTAX) or adriamycin (ADR) and following intravenous injection, measured their penetration into brain tissue and other organs using radiolabeled and fluorescent derivatives of the drugs. In order to establish efficacy of the conjugates, we used nude mouse models to assess p97-drug conjugate activity towards glioma and mammary tumors growing subcutaneously compared to those growing intracranially. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Bolus-injected p97-drug conjugates and unconjugated p97 traversed brain capillary endothelium within a few minutes and accumulated to 1-2% of the injected by 24 hours. Brain delivery with p97-drug conjugates was quantitatively 10 fold higher than with free drug controls. Furthermore, both free-ADR and p97-ADR conjugates equally inhibited the subcutaneous growth of gliomas growing outside the brain. Evocatively, only p97-ADR conjugates significantly prolonged the survival of animals bearing intracranial gliomas or mammary tumors when compared to similar cumulated doses of free-ADR. SIGNIFICANCE: This study provides the initial proof of concept for p97 as a carrier capable of shuttling therapeutic levels of drugs from the blood to the brain for the treatment of neurological disorders, including classes of resident and metastatic brain tumors. It may be prudent, therefore, to consider implementation of this novel delivery platform in various clinical settings for therapeutic intervention in acute and chronic neurological diseases

    Targeted social mobilization in a global manhunt

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    Social mobilization, the ability to mobilize large numbers of people via social networks to achieve highly distributed tasks, has received significant attention in recent times. This growing capability, facilitated by modern communication technology, is highly relevant to endeavors which require the search for individuals that possess rare information or skills, such as finding medical doctors during disasters, or searching for missing people. An open question remains, as to whether in time-critical situations, people are able to recruit in a targeted manner, or whether they resort to so-called blind search, recruiting as many acquaintances as possible via broadcast communication. To explore this question, we examine data from our recent success in the U.S. State department's Tag Challenge, which required locating andphotographing 5 target persons in 5 different cities in the United States and Europe { in under 12 hours { based only on a single mug-shot. We find that people are able to consistently route information in a targeted fashion even under increasing time pressure. We derive an analytical model for social-media fueled global mobilization and use it to quantify the extent to which people were targeting their peers during recruitment. Our model estimates that approximately 1 in 3 messages were of targeted fashion during the most time-sensitive period of the challenge. This is a novel observation at such shorttemporal scales, and calls for opportunities for devising viral incentive schemes that provide distance or time-sensitive rewards to approach the target geography more rapidly. This observation of '12 hours of separation' between individuals has applications in multiple areas from emergency preparedness, topolitical mobilization