Carbon nanotubes deliver siRNA in post-stroke treatment

Those who follow research into nanotech-enabled drug delivery would be interested in a recent in-vivo test by European scientists of delivery of gene silencing siRNA via carbon nanotubes. The scientists were experimenting with a treatment designed to reduce or reverse damage after a stroke, but one thing they emphasized was that the carbon nanotube--sometimes maligned as too toxic to ever be considered a serious drug-delivery device--can work if it is injected near the area it is being treated and if the size and coating are tweaked. "The key innovation used in this study is based on the previous discovery that chemically functionalized carbon nanotubes are capable of efficient, direct translocation into the cytoplasm of cells," Kostas Kostarelos, of the Nanomedicine Laboratory at the University of London, told Medical Xpress, "and in that way transport siRNA intracellularly." He cautions, though, that there is further testing to be done, especially on long-term effects on the brain. Then the article goes off into some speculation. How about "autonomous nanorobotic siRNA delivery?" the author asks? "Potentially yes," Italian researcher Tommaso Pizzorusso responded diplomatically, adding, "it's too early to credibly assert whether it will ever be realistic." Article | Abstract