UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Fall 2004
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Short Form
It’s all in the genes
Collaboration across the seas
Propensity for obesity, diabetes may occur in utero
Distinguished speakers series
Sparkle attracts
‘Hot site’ for a UB grad student
Two new faces

Breaking Research
It’s all in the genes

  nanoparticles
  Nanoparticles developed at UB allow cells on the floor of a mouse brain ventricle to express the gene for green fluorescent protein.

Using customized nanoparticles they developed, UB scientists have for the first time delivered genes into the brains of living mice with an efficiency that is similar to, or better than, viral vectors and with no observable toxic effect, according to a paper published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The technique may one day allow scientists to repair brain cells damaged by disease, trauma or stroke.

The paper describes how UB scientists used gene-nanoparticle complexes to activate adult brain stem/progenitor cells in vivo, demonstrating that it may be possible to “turn on” these otherwise idle cells as effective replacements for those destroyed by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s. The nanoparticles also provide promising models for studying the genetic mechanisms of brain disease.

“Until now, no non-viral technique has proved to be as effective as the viral vectors in vivo,” says coauthor Paras N. Prasad, executive director of the UB Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, SUNY Distinguished Professor in UB’s Department of Chemistry and principal investigator of the institute’s nanomedicine program. “This transition, from in vitro to in vivo, represents a dramatic leap forward in developing experimental, non-viral techniques to study brain biology and new therapies to address some of the most debilitating human diseases.”




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