Innovation Spotlight: McGill University Researchers Create Novel Nanoparticles That can Bypass Blood-Brain Barrier

September 24, 2012 01:18 PM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

Nanoparticles developed to target neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's disease.

Led by PhD student Meenakshi Malhotra, the McGill research team of Professor Satya Prakash from the department of Biomedical Engineering created this patent-protected, non-viral nanoparticle-based delivery system.  The drug/gene delivery could be administered using a nasal spray or drops to reach those parts of the brain that are affected by neurodegenerative disease. 

The nanoparticles developed are 5 nanometers small and have shown to bypass blood-brain barrier and target cerebral cortex, within 4 hours of intranasal delivery in animals. She also emphasizes that these particles can be custom-made in terms of size and can be targeted towards any cell-surface receptor, by simply replacing the targeting ligand on the nanoparticles. Thus, the work represents itself as a platform technology.

Ms. Malhotra tells TechConnectNews that the system is currently being tested in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, and the team should have results within the next month.  She also tells us that she is applying for research grants to further develop the nanoparticle development and delivery system and is also looking for possible industrial partners to take this delivery system to a next level.

Focusing on a global neurodegenerative therapeutics market that some sources value at $16.83 billion per year is a big challenge, especially for a full time PhD student.  But for Ms. Malhotra, she is ready for the challenge.  “Our passion comes from inspiration. We are ready for the challenge and are committed to this technology.”

The McGill team is seeking funding or development partners for this technology.  A dedicated and state of the art approach that a large company can bring would allow the team to investigate the delivery of siRNA using their novel nanoparticles to target CNS diseases, especially Alzheimer disease. In addition, Ms. Malhotra believes the success of their nanoparticles mediated delivery would reduce R&D costs for developing and delivering high doses of therapeutics at the targeted site.

To learn more about this technology, visit:


  Subscribe to our mailing list, and we'll keep you posted of the latest developments.

RSS feed of TechConnect News™ RSS feed of TechConnect News™