Today I want to tell you about a huge new scientific discovery that will have a dramatic impact on our understanding of the most complex organ in the human body…
This breakthrough will – at the very least – provide us with better contrast agents – the substances needed to get good, clear images during brain scans. That alone would be huge.
You see, the contrast agent used in most MRI scans today is a rare-earth mineral called gadolinium. And it can have major side effects. Right now the FDA is looking into reports that patients who receive these agents develop nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF); that can mean skin thickening, decreased joint mobility, and fibrosis in the diaphragm, muscles, and lungs. (Over time, NSF gets worse and can cause death. And there is no treatment for it.) Already, the FDA has told all five makers of this compound to put warning labels on their products. So there is a serious need for a better contrast medium.
Yet I think this same breakthrough could actually be a game-changer for the field of neuroscience, with profound implications for the entire human race.
And to think, all these changes will result from a tiny protein most people don’t even know exists.
This Nano Protein Will Be One of the
Most Important Molecules of the 21st Century
First discovered more than 100 years ago, this thin membrane allows nutrients into the brain, but keeps out harmful matter. Without this barrier, the human race would continually “short circuit.”
That was all well and good… until the new field of nanotech came along.
You see, doctors now want to be able to get drugs straight to the brain, using nanoparticles.
Doing so would be extremely useful in many ways. In the case of cancer treatment, it would reduce side effects that can cause nausea or hair loss in patients. It would also improve the treatment itself, because the drug’s delivery would become so much more precise.
It all boils down to this.
Doctors thought that any nanoparticles large enough to see on a brain scan would cause damage to the brain barrier, which, in turn, would leave patients open to a wide range of diseases that could kill them.
That’s why clathrin is so exciting. It’s a nanoparticle that goes right through the brain barrier without causing any damage. Clearly, it holds great promise for tackling a wide range of problems. It could become a vital resource in the medical community.
What’s more, there’s no shortage of this protein. It’s almost everywhere. You can find it in people, dogs, cats, fish, plants, and bacteria. Even in a fungus.
Here’s What This Means for Us
With this kind of cutting-edge high tech, the next few years will be like nothing we’ve even seen before.
Thanks to clathrin, we will soon be able to put all manner of new substances right inside the brain. The marriage of nanotech and biotech will engender a revolution with implications that we won’t fully understand for decades to come.
For one thing, I predict this will allow us to make human beings much smarter than we are today. We will use nanoparticles to deliver agents that enhance our IQs. Eventually, we will learn how to construct neural implants that can last for years, even decades.
To some extent, we’re already starting to do that now.
Doctors today use implants to treat patients with Parkinson’s – the debilitating brain disease that gives victims muscle spasms and can make it hard for them to sleep, let alone think clearly. But the process has huge drawbacks. It requires hours of surgery. Not only that, these brain “pacemakers require the patient to have wires placed under his or her skin. It also can cause scarring that limits how well the device works.
Not so with clathrin.
This protein ranks as the body’s primary means of delivering a wide range of molecules into cells.
That’s why researchers from the Brain Imaging NaNoTechnology Group at the McLean Hospital Imaging Center are so excited about this substance. They note that their ability to target clathrin to the brain could open the door to a wide range of drugs that work better than what’s on the market today.
Clathrin has another potential mega-benefit with regard to the “Graying of America.” As Baby Boomers become seniors, doctors have expected an explosion in the occurrence of Alzheimer’s that will affect the quality of life for millions and cost $1 trillion a decade.
Brain doctors often hear of drugs that could prove helpful for complex problems like Alzheimer’s. But they rarely get their hopes up. It’s the same old problem – the compounds can’t cross the blood-brain barrier safely.
Thus, I expect to see a lot more doctors looking for ways to build on the clathrin study. And that means it’s just a matter of time before the biotech sector finds ways to profit from this breakthrough.
And that means two things you can take to the bank…
Investors will make money off these game-changers. And with the world’s brightest minds working on the world’s biggest problems, America will remain the high-tech leader in the Era of Radical Change.