Laser Used to Deliver Dopamine in Hope for Parkinson’s Treatment

laser for drug delivery Laser Used to Deliver Dopamine in Hope for Parkinsons Treatment

In people suffering from Parkinson’s, errors of metabolism in dopaminergic neurons of substantia nigra play an important role in pathophysiology of the disease. One of the functions of dopamine is in helping control muscle movement. Unfortunately, simply injecting Parkinson’s patients with dopamine does not cure the disease, since the chemical needs to be delivered in precise quantities over extended time period just where it’s needed. To help with that, researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan and University of Otago, New Zealand have developed a method of encapsulating dopamine within liposomes that can then be released using a femtosecond laser.

These liposomes are spherical structures made of fat cells that are very stable when inside the human body. They are able to ferry their cargo throughout the body, which will only interact with cells and tissues when the liposomes are ruptured by some external force. The researchers utilized a femtosecond laser, capable of cracking open the liposomes, to be able to release dopamine in precise quantities proportional to how much time the laser was turned on for. This research is still in laboratory stage, but the team believes the technology may one day lead to special implants that release encapsulated dopamine which is then precisely activated using a tiny laser.

From the study abstract in Scientific Reports:

Here, we demonstrate that by applying programmed femtosecond laser pulses to robust, nanoscale liposome structures containing dopamine, we achieve sub-second, controlled release of dopamine – a key neurotransmitter of the central nervous system – thereby replicating its release profile in the brain. The fast delivery system provides a powerful new interface with neural circuits, and to the larger range of biological functions that operate on this short timescale.

Study in Scientific ReportsMimicking subsecond neurotransmitter dynamics with femtosecond laser stimulated nanosystems…

Press release: Using Femtosecond Lasers to Administer Drugs…

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