Shermali Gunawardena, University of Buffalo researcher, discovered that ORMOSIL nanoparticles when injected into the brain of insects, which even after being exposed for a long time, did not affect the flies and cells in any way.
These fluorescent particles just lit up all the neurons in the brain hence showing promise as a potential drug delivery vehicle. This meant that this new class of nanomaterials, ORMOSIL had penetrated the brains of insects.
Each of these nanoparticles is a vessel that has cavities, which scientists can fill with gene therapies or chemical compounds to be transmitted to different parts of the body, in this case, the brain especially to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s. The study on fruit flies indicates that even when the insects are exposed for a long time to ORMOSIL, through feeding and breathing, the animals are not harmed.
The ORMOSIL nanoparticles being studied are of an exclusive type designed by a research group headed by the UB institute’s Executive Director, Paras.N.Prasad.
Gunawardena is a specialist in axonal transport, which involves transmission of motor proteins along thread-like axon neurons. These molecular motors, known as dyneins and kinesins, carry drugs such as essential proteins back and forth from the synapse and cell body of the neurons. It is possible that an axonal obstruction occurs, which probably contributes to disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Gunawardena intends to use ORMOSIL in this context to break up the accumulation of neurons. Though her research is still in the evolutionary stage, the potential advantages will be significant. She is also trying to make ORMOSIL to attach itself to motor proteins.