Targeted nanocapsules offer hope for MS treatment in new study

Putting medicines in lipid (fat) nanocapsules that can access the brain may allow scientists to treat inflammation and myelin loss, according to a new study.

Researchers in the cell-based study used modified nanocapsules containing retinoic acid to suppress inflammation and encourage cells that produce myelin, called oligodendrocytes, to grow.

Retonic acid comes from vitamin A and has been shown to stimulate the growth of brain cells from neural stem cells and to produce mature oligodendrocytes from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. It can also modulate immune responses and promote regeneration in the nervous system.

It does therefore shown promise as a potential treatment for the inflammatory response in MS and to help re-grow myelin. The compound is prone to degradation though.

“RA is able to affect the behaviour of oligodendrocytes, promoting the development of more mature oligodendrocytes,” said the researchers. “Overall, the results show that this nanosystem can act in both the inflammatory microenvironment present at the brain and spinal cord of affected patients, but also stimulate the differentiation of new oligodendrocytes, paving the way for a promising platform in the therapy of MS.”

The researchers said more research is now needed in living organisms to confirm the targetability of the capsules.