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Nat Rev Neurol. 2012 Apr 24;8(6):307-18. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2012.76.

Nanotechnology-novel therapeutics for CNS disorders.

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Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Ward 10-233, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. maya@


Research into treatments for diseases of the CNS has made impressive strides in the past few decades, but therapeutic options are limited for many patients with CNS disorders. Nanotechnology has emerged as an exciting and promising new means of treating neurological disease, with the potential to fundamentally change the way we approach CNS-targeted therapeutics. Molecules can be nanoengineered to cross the blood-brain barrier, target specific cell or signalling systems, respond to endogenous stimuli, or act as vehicles for gene delivery, or as a matrix to promote axon elongation and support cell survival. The wide variety of available nanotechnologies allows the selection of a nanoscale material with the characteristics best suited to the therapeutic challenges posed by an individual CNS disorder. In this Review, we describe recent advances in the development of nanotechnology for the treatment of neurological disorders-in particular, neurodegenerative disease and malignant brain tumours-and for the promotion of neuroregeneration.

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