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Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., is principal investigator on a new R01 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to explore cell-based gene delivery to the brain as a therapy for Parkinson’s disease. The grant is worth up to $1.7 million over five years.

Batrakova and her team at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery will genetically modify white blood cells called monocytes to produce glial cell–derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF, and deliver it to the brain. Glial cells provide support and protection for nerve cells throughout the brain and body, and GDNF can heal and stimulate the growth of damaged neurons.

To read the full UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy article, please click here.


White blood cells reengineered by Batrakova deliver exosomes loaded with proteins that stimulate the growth of damaged nerve fibers


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