Research Nugget

Promising Nano-based Treatment Approach for Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s diseases (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder which affects millions of people worldwide. With the number of cases estimated to increase by 2040, alternative treatment approaches are necessary as current therapeutics available for PD focus on palliative treatment.

Research funded by the NRF, and conducted by researchers from the University of KwaZulu Natal, reviewed the potential of nanomedicine, particularly lipid nanoparticles, as a promising therapeutic carrier that can be used to deliver drugs for treating PD. 

A significant obstacle in treating PD is the protective nature of the blood-brain barrier and its ability to limit access to foreign molecules, including therapeutics. This has resulted in drugs currently used being nonspecific and administered at dosages that result in numerous adverse side-effects.

The study highlights that lipid nanoparticles possess various advantages, including enhanced permeability to the brain through passive diffusion and specific and non-specific transporters. Furthermore, lipid nanoparticle-based vaccines have been found to be reasonably safe, efficient, bioavailable, non-toxic, possess the ability to be conjugated to drugs, as well as be produced on a larger scale for commercial use.

According to the researchers, new avenues have been opened up to advance the use of lipid nanoparticle formulations for treating many disorders, including neurological disorders such as PD. However, more basic research which focuses on lipid nanoparticle novel formulations directed to the brain is needed to promote the optimisation of lipid nanoparticle-based formulations for efficient brain targeting, which can be translated eventually to clinical settings.

Access the full paper published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences  here.