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Aug 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 14)

GEN Update on Promising Emerging Biotechnologies

  • GEN is pleased to introduce a new column that will appear throughout the editorial year.It will highlight emerging university or academic technologies that have future applications in the commercial biotech and pharma arenas. GEN first discussed each of these novel methodologies in one of our weekly podcasts and we invite you to go to www.genengnews.com/genCasts.aspx to learn more about the discovery and potential of each of these technologies.

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    The noninvasive delivery of stem cells to the brain in an animal model offers hope for a new way of treating neurological diseases in humans in the future.
    (Yang MingQi - Fotolia.com)

    DELIVERING CELLS INTRANASALLY TO THE BRAIN

    William Frey, Ph.D., codirector, Alzheimer’s Research Center, Regions Hospital, St. Paul, MN, and professor, oral biology and pharmaceutics, University of Minnesota.
    GEN Podcast, July 16, 2009.

    For decades the blood-brain barrier has served as the major obstacle to the use of many therapeutic agents for central nervous system disorders. However, a noninvasive, intranasal method of bypassing the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs to the brain and spinal cord was revealed by Dr. Frey in 1992.

    Now Dr. Frey and collaborators in Germany report that stem cells can be noninvasively delivered to the brain using the intranasal method. They accomplished this goal in an animal model and noted that they bypassed the blood-brain barrier.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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