Researchers at the University of Buffalo have developed a stable nanoparticle that can be sent into the brain to shut off a gene related to addiction, Science Daily reported March 25.
The nanotechnology targets DARPP-32, a brain protein known to facilitate addictive behavior; a form of ribonucleic acid (RNA) known as short interfering RNA (siRNA) is used to silence the gene. Since siRNA is unstable, researchers combined it with gold nanoparticles called ’nanorods’ to deliver it in the brain.
“We have demonstrated that we can use these gold nanorods to stabilize the siRNA molecules, take them across the blood-brain barrier and silence the gene,” said Indrajit Roy, Ph.D., deputy director for biophotonics at the University of Buffalo’s Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics. “The nanorods nicely address all three of these requirements.”
“When you silence this gene, the physical craving for the drug should be reduced,” added study co-author Adela C. Boniou, Ph.D.
The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.