Microplatform for minimally-invasive spatio-temporal modulation of immune dynamics in the brain

2015 Seed Grant
Beata Chertok, Ph.D.
University of Michigan

The goal of this project is to develop tiny devices the size of blood cells that can be injected into the blood stream and non-invasively activated in specific locations of the brain to release molecules and genes with pre-programmed timing. These devices will be used to modulate responses of the immune system in the brain. When the immune system fights infections in the normal brain, the specific location and the timing of activation of the immune system components is tightly regulated. This regulation becomes abnormal in many brain disorders including neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury and brain tumors. The abnormal immune response acts to stimulate the disease instead of fighting it. By delivering molecules and genes that can modulate immune system activities in specific locations and with a pre-designed timing of presentation in the brain, we hope to re-program the immune system to fight the disease. During the time-frame of the proposed project, we will explore the ability of our devices to modulate the immune system components in brain tumors in mice. If successful, we will work on further development of this technology for therapy of brain tumors and other disorders of the human brain.