In a recent study, a nanodevice has been utilized as therapy to prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The device, described as a “mesoporous silica nanostructure,” was designed to prevent peptides from forming plaque in the brain, a process believed to be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The nanostructure is covered in extremely tiny antibody fragments that capture ?-amyloid (A?) peptides and prevent them from aggregating into larger structures.
During the study, the nanodevice was implanted directly into the brain. The results revealed an overall reduction in the likelihood of a patient displaying the most devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Some of the tools and methods used to conduct the research included confocal laser scanning microscopy, MicroScale Thermophoresis, and small angle x-ray scattering.
Nanodevice Surface Proteins
In the case of the Alzheimer’s treatment study detailed above, each nanodevice was covered with ultra-small antibodies created in a lab. These antibodies were specifically engineered to target the peptides that aggregate into Alzheimer’s-related plaques in the brain. However, it is worth noting that a nanodevice could theoretically be coated with all manner of different antibodies, including those that fight HIV, cancer, or viral infections like SARS-CoV-2.
Another type of nanodevice currently undergoing development and testing is one that functions in nucleic acid. These DNA nanodevices target extremely specific cell types and are deployed on a precise, subcellular level. Their disease-causing targets—such as antigens, viruses, or cancer cells—are often localized in certain organs. Therefore, a precision approach is necessary to unlock the full potential of these medical devices.
Nanodevice testing can take a variety of forms depending on what the nanodevice was designed to do. Testing the efficacy of a nanodevice designed to deploy antibodies to supplement the immune system might be a matter of taking before and after blood tests, studying protein assays, or undertaking more advanced methods of observing and measuring the binding affinities of the antibodies delivered by the nanodevice.
When testing a nanodevice, it’s important to test:
- How precisely or efficiently the surface proteins arrive at their target location
- How readily and effectively the surface proteins delivered by the nanodevice were able to bind to their target antigens
- The results of this action
The Future of Nanodevices
Nanodevices and their ability to successfully deploy antibody proteins, Alzheimer’s blocking nano depleters, and other therapeutic substances could have revolutionary consequences on the way we treat diseases. It is possible that nanodevices could one day be a viable transmission method for many sorts of other medicinal agents as well.
Researchers hope to continue to make great strides in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as expand their targets well beyond the scope of the disease. In the near future, nanodevices may not only be used to prevent Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, but a full range of conditions affecting many different organs and parts of the body. As medical nanotechnology becomes smaller, more powerful, and more accessible, the possibilities are endless.