Research targets central nervous system disorders

Breakthroughs in brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases are sorely needed. Six millions Americans live with these conditions, and there’s no cure.

At the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, researchers like Xiaowei Dong, PhD, are working to change that.

With a $146,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, she is investigating how to help the brain re-grow cells lost to disease.

Dr. Dong will research ways to deliver nerve growth factor by safely penetrating the blood-brain barrier. The blood vessels that supply the brain and spinal cord block the passage of certain substances.

Her two-year project uses nanoparticles smaller than the particles that make up wood smoke.

Dr. Dong is Assistant Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the new UNT System College of Pharmacy that opened in fall 2013 on the UNTHSC campus. This is her first NIH funding grant. Her research partner for this project is Shaohua Yang, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Neuroscience.

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