MSU researchers set new standards and show how a new treatment helps patients with MS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease

April 22, 2024
MSU researchers recently published three papers – two about the importance of lab consistency when analyzing nanoparticles and one that demonstrates how accurate biological analysis can support the development of breakthrough pharmaceuticals.

Is it possible for nanoparticles to go through the digestive system and deliver medicine directly to the brain tissue? Researchers from Michigan State University say yes, and their latest findings are expected to benefit patients with neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis, or MS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS; and Parkinson’s disease, or PD.

The research team recently published two papers on the biological identity of nanoparticles. These papers “Measurements of heterogeneity in proteomics analysis of the nanoparticle protein corona across core facilities” and “A uniform data processing pipeline enables harmonized nanoparticle protein corona analysis across proteomics core facilities,” both published in Nature Communications, establish the need for standardized procedures in protein corona analysis, which is vital for advancing clinical applications of nanoscale biotechnologies. 

“We prepared identical nanoparticles with the protein corona and sent them to 17 different evaluation centers,” said Morteza Mahmoudi, an associate professor in the Department of Radiology in the MSU colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Human Medicine and Precision Health. “We found significant data variability with only 1.8% of proteins consistently identified by all, so we developed a method of analysis to help labs more accurately reproduce data from the biological identity of nanoparticles. This will help the scientific community be more harmonized.”

Related work, “Protein corona composition of gold nanocatalysts,” appeared in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science, a journal of the American Chemical Society. This analysis, done for Clene Nanomedicine, Inc., or Clene, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, explains how the protein corona of their gold nanocrystals in CNM-Au8 help treat neurodegenerative diseases.

CNM-Au8 is comprised of a suspension of clean-surfaced, faceted gold nanocrystals that patients can take orally. The nanocrystals pass through the gastrointestinal tract and enter the body’s circulatory system where they interact with, and become coated by, blood proteins and other biomolecules. This forms the protein/biomolecular corona. 

“This composition enhances the nanocrystals’ ability to traverse the blood-brain barrier,” Mahmoudi explained. “Our research shows that these gold nanocrystals, manufactured using a novel method to form specific structures and without surfactants, can form a distinct protein corona that facilitates access to brain tissue.” 

Michigan State University release on Newswise