Molecular biology has played a significant role in a number of recent advancements in the field of neurosurgery. It has helped the researchers understand brain functions better and tackle any untoward circumstances which may damage the brain.
Now, the researchers at Rice University are working on a nanoparticle which may turn out to be an elixir for instances where blood flow to the brain is slowed down. Normally, our body releases ROS molecules which contain oxygen. Antioxidant enzymes in the cells are also present in balanced number to counter the ROS molecules.
However, when a person suffers from a trauma which affects the brain and stifles blood flow to it, ROS molecules are produced in huge numbers which, in turn, further exacerbates the damage that is being done. Since blood flow is slowed down, the brain doesn’t get enough antioxidant molecules to eliminate the ROS molecules which then pile up.
Conventionally, doctors try to restore blood flow as soon as possible to stop this and enable the body to resume normal ROS level. However, this process takes time and meanwhile, ROS molecules can very quickly cause permanent damage.
This is where the role of the new nanoparticle comes in. Called polyethylene glycol-hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC), each of these molecules can eliminates hundreds of ROS molecules as soon as they are injected into the body. PEG-HCC can last for 2 to 3 hours after being injected into the human body. During this time, they can effectively thwart any damage that may be caused due to high ROS levels.
Naturally, researchers believe that this may be a revolutionary discovery for the field of neuroscience. According to the co-author of the paper which speaks about this research, “This is the most remarkably effective thing I’ve ever seen. Literally within minutes of injecting it, the cerebral blood flow is back to normal, and we can keep it there with just a simple second injection.”