(Nanowerk News) Magnetic nanoparticles can open the blood-brain barrier and deliver molecules directly to the brain, say researchers from the University of Montreal, Polytechnique Montréal, and CHU Sainte-Justine ("Remote control of the permeability of the blood–brain barrier by magnetic heating of nanoparticles: A proof of concept for brain drug delivery"). This barrier runs inside almost all vessels in the brain and protects it from elements circulating in the blood that may be toxic to the brain.
The research is important as currently 98% of therapeutic molecules are also unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.
“The barrier is temporary opened at a desired location for approximately 2 hours by a small elevation of the temperature generated by the nanoparticles when exposed to a radio-frequency field,” explained first author and co-inventor Seyed Nasrollah Tabatabaei. “Our tests revealed that this technique is not associated with any inflammation of the brain.