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Research Paves the Way for Nanotechnology Treatment for Drug Addiction

A research conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Buffalo’s Institute for Lasers Photonics and Biophotonics and Department of Medicine may just pave the way to the development of a new treatment for drug addiction through nanotechnology. The group developed a nanoparticle that works to transmit short RNA molecules into the brain. These RNA molecules are then expected to disable the action of a gene that influences vulnerability to drug addiction. The findings of the team were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“These findings mean that in the future, we might be able to add a powerful pharmaceutical agent to the current arsenal of weapons in order to more effectively fight a whole range of substance addictions,” says research leader Paras N. Prasad, Ph.D. This new approach may also be used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions as well as cancer – all of which need to get drugs sent to the brain.

The research on nanoparticles can also be considered a crucial breakthrough in the treatment of other diseases. The team is to start with a complementary study to look into the use of the technology in the treatment of prostate cancer, AIDS, asthma and dementia.

“The findings of this study tell us that these nanoparticles are both a safe and very efficient way of delivering to a variety of tissues highly sophisticated new drugs that turn off abnormal genes,” says co-author Stanley A. Schwartz, MD, Ph.D of the univerity’s department of Medicine, Pediatrics and Mircobiology.

The paper outlines a technique to silence a brain protein called DARPP-32, which is considered a central trigger for drug addiction cues. It facilitates addictive behaviors and silencing it will require sending short interfering RNA strands to hinder the production of the protein.

When the gene is turned off, the individual’s drug cravings are expected to be reduced. But there is still the drawback of getting the siRNA efficiently and safely delivered. The RNA strands are unstable so treatment can still be compromised by the absence of a more efficient approach.

Learn more about this research here at Miramar Recovery Centers. We are an alcohol and drug addiction rehab that specializes in individual approaches to addiction recovery. This is so we can ensure that each client’s concerns are sufficiently addressed, making treatment more effective.