Rapid delivery: Injected protein flips a switch in the brain, disappears: Potential implications for treating neurotrauma and spinal cord injuries

Many diseases have at their origin a protein that does not function properly. Now, a multidisciplinary research team with Texas A&M AgriLife and Texas A&M University has found a way to deliver a protein quickly, effectively and briefly to the brain, with therapeutic and scientific implications.

Potential uses for the method in the future could include repairing spinal cord injuries and a range of other localized injection applications.

“We found that we could successfully deliver a protein into mouse brains,” said Jean-Philippe Pellois, Ph.D., professor and associate head for graduate program, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Proteins are large molecules that don’t easily enter cells or cross cell membranes, but we’ve created a trick to achieve this.”

Both the protein and its delivery system degrade naturally after performing their role.

“We wanted to make sure we had reagents that are very gentle on the cell, that can enter cells without disrupting them and then leave without a trace,” said Pellois, who is also a researcher with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Pellois and his lab collaborated with the lab of Cédric Geoffroy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics in the Texas A&M School of Medicine.

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