Work of Southeast Professor Appears in Prestigious Scientific Journal

santaneelCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 2, 2012 — An article written by a Southeast Missouri State University assistant professor of physics, demonstrating the role of smart nanostructures in the development of novel therapeutic approaches for treating central nervous system (CNS) disorders, is currently featured in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals focused on advanced drug and gene delivery systems.

“Role of engineered nanocarriers in axon regeneration and guidance: current status and future trends,” an article by Dr. Santaneel Ghosh, recently was published in Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews.

In addition to highlighting recent achievements in the development of smart nanostructures to overcome the existing challenges for treating CNS injuries, the article describes the novel research findings of Ghosh and his coworkers that have developed over the last four years. The article can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addr.2011.12.013.

Ghosh said the “article makes a major contribution to our understanding of the role and promise of the multifunctional nano-systems to provide novel treatment approaches for axon regeneration and guidance after traumatic CNS injury.”

Axons are a part of a nerve cell through which impulses travel away from a cell body. The research is important since about 1.5 million individuals experience traumatic injuries to the brain, and 265,000 experience traumatic spinal cord injuries each year in the United States. Currently, few effective treatments for CNS injuries are available because the central nervous system is resistance to axonal regeneration and relatively inaccessible to many pharmacological treatments. Smart, remotely tunable, multifunctional micro- and nanocarriers hold promise for delivering treatments to the CNS and targeting specific neurons to enhance axon regeneration and synaptogenesis, according to the article.

Furthermore, assessing the effectiveness of treatments could be enhanced by nontoxic nanostructures designed for imaging tissues inside the body. Recent developments in nanoengineering offer promising alternatives for designing minimally toxic micro- and nanorobots, including magnetic nanostructures, carbon nanotubes, and quantum dot-based systems for controlled release of drugs and diagnostic agents to targeted tumors or nerve cells.

Apart from analyzing the recent developments, the article proposes a unique approach of using drug-loaded magnetic nanospheres in a high frequency magnetic field for their ability to deliver and release the drug to the targeted nerve cells to modulate axon growth and guidance after CNS injury.

Ghosh has previously been awarded a two-year Cottrell College Science Award to conduct nano-biotechnology research. The $35,000 grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement allowed him to investigate the feasibility of using specially designed nano-robots to re-construct the neural circuit after a nervous system injury.

Recently, Ghosh and coworkers have observed negligible toxicity of multifunctional polymer-quantum dot (QD) or polymer-magnetic nanostructures on neuron-like cells. These promising results were published in high impact scientific journals (Applied Physics Letters, 2011, and Nanoscale Research Letters 2010). QDs are nano-scale crystalline structures comprising a semiconductor core, usually made of heavy metals. They absorb white light and then reemit a specific color a few nanoseconds later depending on the property of the material. Although they are very promising for tissue imaging, they induce heavy metal related toxicity effects in the tissues. Ghosh’s research is very promising as the toxic effects have been reduced, without compromising the efficiency of these nanostructures. Furthermore, high affinity cell nucleus specific binding was also observed by using specifically designed nanospheres, which is very attractive for drug and gene delivery.

As one of the world’s most influential scientific journals in the field of advanced drug and gene delivery systems, “Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews” aims to provide a forum for the critical analysis of advanced drug and gene delivery systems and their applications in human and veterinary medicine. The Journal has a broad scope, covering the key issues for effective drug and gene delivery, from administration to site-specific delivery.

The Journal publishes review articles in a Theme Issue format. Each Theme Issue provides a comprehensive and critical examination of current and emerging research on the design and development of advanced drug and gene delivery systems and their application to experimental and clinical therapeutics. The goal is to illustrate the pivotal role of a multidisciplinary approach to modern drug delivery, encompassing the application of sound biological and physicochemical principles to the engineering of drug delivery systems for purposes of meeting the therapeutic need at hand. Published articles in the Journal offer a review of the current status of a specific topic, giving equal emphasis to the identification of major conceptual and technological challenges, as well as successful drug and gene delivery. Articles include an evaluation of triumphs as well as shortcomings in current conceptual and technical approaches, in addition to a discussion of their possible solution.