Gilberto Fisone has been awarded a three-year research grant from the Swedish Research Council within the program Novel Imaging and Brain Stimulation Methods and Technologies (JPND) for a project entitled “Phage-based targeted neural stimulation in neurodegenerative diseases”.
”Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases with major social and economic impact. It is characterized by the progressive degeneration of dopamine neurons which innervate the brain basal ganglia, leading to severe motor impairment”, says Gilberto Fisone, Professor at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet.
Current pharmacological approaches control the symptoms in the early phase of the disease but still suffer from long-term complications and drug-resistance issues.
“Among alternative methods, deep brain stimulation (DBS) with microelectrodes implanted in specific brain regions meets several problems that limit performance and safety”, Gilberto Fisone explains.
”To circumvent these problems, the NEUROPHAGE project will use light/ultrasound sensitive polymer nanoparticles able to efficiently stimulate denervated neurons on demand”, he continues.
This will be achieved using brain permeable harmless M13 phage carriers, bearing a docking system to recognize specific neuronal epitopes and a cargo of polymeric nanoparticles eliciting neuronal activation in response to near infrared/ultrasound stimulation applied at the skull surface.
This approach will be tested in a widely used and reliable mouse model of Parkinson’s Disease. The successful proof-of-concept will have a strong translational potential, particularly because of the non-invasive character of this intervention.
Source: Karolinska Institutet