John Garner

mPEG-PLGA from Akina used in development of Ultrasound-Triggered Neural delivery Nanoparticles

Blog Post created by John Garner on May 13, 2019

Neuroactive agents which are designed to have a specific effect on the brain suffer from several drawbacks. One of these is the non-specific nature of their action in which certain neural pathways are either blocked or activated regardless of location. Recently, researchers at Stanford University used mPEG-PLGA (AK090) from PolySciTech ( to create nanoparticles that can be controlled by external ultra-sound signals. This research holds promise to enable specific delivery of compounds to discrete locations of the brain in a more controlled manner to treat a variety of disease states. Read more: Wang, Jeffrey B., Muna Aryal, Qian Zhong, Daivik B. Vyas, and Raag D. Airan. "Noninvasive Ultrasonic Drug Uncaging Maps Whole-Brain Functional Networks." Neuron 100, no. 3 (2018): 728-738.


“Highlights: Ultrasound-sensitive nanoparticles enable localized drug delivery to the brain. Ultrasonic drug uncaging allows noninvasive and precise control of brain activity. Drug effects are limited to the ultrasound focus and by the kinetics of the drug. Uncaging and neuroimaging together causatively maps whole-brain functional networks. Being able to noninvasively modulate brain activity, where and when an experimenter desires, with an immediate path toward human translation is a long-standing goal for neuroscience. To enable robust perturbation of brain activity while leveraging the ability of focused ultrasound to deliver energy to any point of the brain noninvasively, we have developed biocompatible and clinically translatable nanoparticles that allow ultrasound-induced uncaging of neuromodulatory drugs. Utilizing the anesthetic propofol, together with electrophysiological and imaging assays, we show that the neuromodulatory effect of ultrasonic drug uncaging is limited spatially and temporally by the size of the ultrasound focus, the sonication timing, and the pharmacokinetics of the uncaged drug. Moreover, we see secondary effects in brain regions anatomically distinct from and functionally connected to the sonicated region, indicating that ultrasonic drug uncaging could noninvasively map the changes in functional network connectivity associated with pharmacologic action at a particular brain target. Keywords: focused ultrasound neuromodulation functional imaging functional connectivity nanotechnology drug delivery”


Biotech, Pharma, Cancer, Research (BPCR) is a free, 1-day scientific networking conference hosted by Akina, Inc. on Aug 28, 2019. See more and register to attend at