Optogenetic Control of the Blood Brain Barrier for Drug Delivery (Case 2135)

Principle Investigator:

Christopher Moore, PhD, Associate Professor
Department of Neuroscience
Brown University

Brief Description:

The blood-brain-barrier (BBB) blocks approximately 98% of small molecule therapeutics and almost 100% of large molecular therapeutics from reaching the central nervous system, creating a challenge in drug delivery for treatment of medical conditions and diseases of the brain. Safe and effective methods to facilitate or allow transport of therapeutics to the CNS for brain cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, neurological disease, and psychiatric diseases are greatly needed. 

Endothelial cells (EC) play a critical role in vasculature regulation as the primary substrate of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and as mediators of vascular diameter/tone, blood flow, and angiogenesis. Adherons and tight junctions between ECs form the physical BBB, which is stabilized by ion homeostasis and other relay mechanisms (e.g. carrier mediated transfer). Changes to these mechanisms can lead to changes in BBB permeability.

Researchers at Brown University have developed methods to generate light sensitivity in EC, optimize patterns of external light delivered to EC, and make biological light generation endogenous for the control of EC in a non-invasive manner. The use of light-sensitive optogenetic reagents can be expressed in ECs or precursors via delivery of recombinant nucleic acid molecules encoding these reagents to allow for optogenetic control. These technologies allow for the precise and temporal regulation of access to the BBB for delivery of therapeutics and treatment of other conditions regulatable by EC barriers.


US Patent application 14/421,744 is pending

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Margaret Shabashevich,
Manager of Operations
Office of Industry Engagement & Commercial Venturing
Brown University
401-863-7499 iecv@brown.edu
Christopher Moore
Tyler Brown
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