Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using femtosecond lasers to administer drugs

Date:
June 25, 2014
Source:
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST
Summary:
Scientists are using lasers, nanotechnology and neuroscience to develop a new, versatile drug delivery system. The system uses a laser to release a neurochemical that is dysfunctional in Parkinson’s Disease in a controlled and repeatable manner.

Diagram of liposome encapsulating dopamine that is tethered to a gold nanoparticle. The liposome is then activated with the laser, which releases the dopamine.
Credit: OIST

Scientists are combining physics and neurobiology to tackle Parkinson’s disease. The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University’sFemtosecond Spectroscopy UnitandNeurobiology Research Unit, along with collaborators at the University of Otago, New Zealand are using lasers, nanotechnology and neuroscience to develop a new, versatile drug delivery system. The researchers describe their work using a laser to release a neurochemical that is dysfunctional in Parkinson’s Disease in a controlled and repeatable manner in a new article inScientific Reports.

An exciting new area of research for a cure or therapy for many diseases is targeted drug delivery. Currently, we administer drugs in a systemic way and tissues or organs that do not need the drug receive it, leading to unwanted side effects. A good example of this is in chemotherapy, which is toxic not only to the intended target cancer cells, but also to healthy tissue. Recent advances in nanotechnology and biology are opening up the possibilities in targeted drug delivery, where researchers can release drugs or compounds in a specific tissue or even individual cells, which would allow the drug to reach only its intended target. In their recent paper, OIST researchers describe a method to encapsulate a drug in a shell of lipids, or fat, called a liposome, and modulate the release of the drug using a pulse from a laser.

Members of the Neurobiology Research Unit approached the Femtosecond Spectroscopy Unit with the idea to apply laser technology in a possible therapy for Parkinson’s Disease. In Parkinson’s Disease, the neurochemical dopamine does not function properly. The researchers wanted to use the precise timing and intensity of femtosecond lasers to control the release of dopamine in a way that mimicked its natural dynamic mechanism. Therefore, the researchers encapsulated dopamine in a liposome tethered to a gold nanoparticle. They used a femtosecond laser pulse as the energy source. The energy is absorbed by the gold nanoparticle and then transferred to the liposome, causing the liposome to open and release the dopamine. The length of time and therefore amount of dopamine released can be precisely controlled by the intensity and length of time the laser is on. The researchers also showed that the liposomes are not destroyed by the laser as in previous similar studies. Therefore, the release of dopamine, or any chemical contained within the liposome, can be repeated and controlled. Takashi Nakano of the OIST Neurobiology Research Unit said, “with this method, we can administer a wide range of drugs with precise timing and duration using laser pulses with sub-second accuracy. We are very excited about the potential this new tool brings to neurobiological research."

The next step is using these laser-activated liposomes in living tissue, and eventually, in a live animal. The ability to release potentially any type of drug, chemical or naturally occurring compound in the right place at the right time with a controlled dosage will open new possibilities in medicine. For Dani, it is exciting for him to “be able to utilize a physics technique I learned in graduate school for applications in neuroscience.” Nakano added, “the close collaboration between physicists, chemists, and neuroscientists made this outcome possible. OIST’s interdisciplinary research has truly facilitated smooth understanding of fields outside the collaborators’ individual expertise.” The future of new technologies and cures for disease may lie at the boundary between different scientific fields, such as physics and neuroscience. OIST researchers are addressing today’s scientific and medical puzzles, like Parkinson’s Disease, by developing tomorrow’s technologies that straddle those scientific boundaries. Maybe Parkinson’s Disease will be cured by a curious neuroscientist who works across the hall from a willing physicist in Okinawa.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. The original article was written by Kathleen Estes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Takashi Nakano, Catherine Chin, David Mo Aung Myint, Eng Wui Tan, Peter John Hale, Bala Murali Krishna M., John N. J. Reynolds, Jeff Wickens, Keshav M. Dani. Mimicking subsecond neurotransmitter dynamics with femtosecond laser stimulated nanosystems. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep05398

Cite This Page:

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. "Using femtosecond lasers to administer drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625101449.htm>.
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. (2014, June 25). Using femtosecond lasers to administer drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625101449.htm
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. "Using femtosecond lasers to administer drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625101449.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins