Parasitic fish could help treat human brain disease

Chemicals derived from the immune system of a parasitic fish could hold the key to better treatments for human brain disease, researchers say.

In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, researchers driven by Eric Shusta from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, detail how atoms extricated from ocean lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) – a typical northern hemisphere jawless species – could be utilized to ferry medications to focuses inside the brain.

Treating any disease situated in the brain –, for example, disease or Alzheimer’s – is challenging. One of the brain’s essential safeguard components, known as the blood-brain barrier, capacities to forestall the section of enormous particles. It is a productive method to stop toxins in their tracks, but unfortunately it works just as well against well-intentioned therapeutics.

In instances of brain disease, the barrier turns out to be less steady, and Shusta and associates have shown that lamprey immune system molecules are especially adroit at working around it, by exploring through the extracellular matrix, a tangled work of proteins and sugars that supports and encompasses all cells in the brain.

This means, the scientists compose, that they can possibly be utilized as a transport mechanism to get drugs across the barrier.

This set of targeting molecules appears somewhat agnostic to the disease,” says Shusta. “We believe it could be applied as a platform technology across multiple conditions.”

The methodology, the researchers recommend, decreases the requirement for accuracy when attempting to get drugs to explicit zones of the brain.

“Similar to water soaking into a sponge, the lamprey molecules will potentially accumulate much more of the drug in the abundant matrix around cells compared to specific delivery to cells,” says co-author John Kuo from the University of Texas at Austin.

The way to the procedure lays on a noteworthy distinction between the manner in which human and lamprey immune systems function. Where people produce antibodies in light of attacking pathogens, lampreys produce little sickle molded defensive molecules.

The bow particles, known as VLRs, are delivered in light of explicit pathogen challenges. Shusta and associates found that by infusing the fish with parts of extracellular grid, the irimmune systems produced a VLR that was perfectly geared to integrating with it.

“I’m excited about trying this strategy in different disease model systems,” says Kuo.

“There are several disease processes that disrupt the blood-brain barrier and we could conceive of delivering a variety of different therapies with these molecules.”