Nanoswimmers Navigate Across Boundaries | AIChE

Nanoswimmers Navigate Across Boundaries


A team of scientists from Univ. College London and Kings College London has created synthetic vesicles, dubbed nanoswimmers, that are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

The BBB is a highly selective membrane that separates circulating blood from extracellular fluid in the brain. The ability to deliver drugs through the BBB to the brain and central nervous system (CNS) is a major challenge in healthcare. Because the brain consumes about 20% of the body’s glucose, the bloodstream transports a high flow of glucose across the BBB. The research team created asymmetric polymersomes that exploit this glucose gradient to gain access to the brain.

The scientists proposed synthetic vesicles capable of self-propulsion through chemotaxis — movement driven by a difference in chemical concentration. They achieved this by encapsulating glucose oxidase alone, or glucose oxidase in combination with catalase, into biocompatible polymersomes.

“Polymersomes can be made of materials that are readily clinically tested,” says Guiseppe Battaglia, a professor at Univ. College London.

The team demonstrated that using two...

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