A Direct Approach to Alzheimer’s

by Gabrielle DeMarco on December 20, 2010

Imagine that you have an ant infestation in your kitchen. The little buggers are crawling all over your counters and in between the cereal boxes and soups cans in your pantry. When you call the exterminator he tells you that instead of putting down ant traps in your kitchen, he will have to release a toxic chemical throughout your entire house that not only kills ants, but also termites, rats, mice, squirrels, small dogs, and perhaps causes severe illness in humans. You would send him packing right?

Unfortunately, this “scorched earth” approach to pest eradication is very similar to the approach doctors have to take to treat complex brain illnesses like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and brain tumors. Patients currently need to take massive doses of medication in the hopes that a small fraction of it will enter the brain and treat the disease. The result is that other, healthy cells of the body also also exposed to the medication, which can lead to adverse and often serious consequences.

This happens because the brain is exceptionally good at keeping nearly everything out of its tissues, including the current medications used to treat these diseases. Professor Pankaj Karande is working to develop a new way to treat these brain illnesses that targets the treatment to only where it is the most beneficial to the patient – the brain.

Clieck to listen to a quick, 60-second interview 60-second audio file with Pankaj Karande discussing the blood-brain barrier and his research to usurp it. 

More information on Karande’s research can be found here and here.