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Neuromed, X-ray light to design the neurological drugs of the future

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An X-ray ‘light’ to design the neurological therapies of the future. This is the perspective outlined by an international study in which the Irccs Neuromed of Pozzilli (Isernia), published in the ‘European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’ took part. The work starts from the consideration that “one of the greatest efforts” in progress “worldwide is the search for new neuroprotective drugs, capable of preventing or slowing the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease”. The new investigation technique described in the study “allows us to observe neurons and their intracellular structures in very high detail in three dimensions, studying the alterations caused by the disease and, consequently, observing the protective effect of new molecules on experimental models”. It is on the use of this method, and on its ability to identify neuronal damage and potential drug effects that the scientists of the Neuromed, of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) of Grenoble in France, of the University of Monaco have focused on. in Germany and the University of Milan Bicocca. The research – explain from the Molise institute – used particular X-rays produced by electrons traveling at relativistic speeds inside large circular particle accelerators called synchrotrons. The 844-meter-diameter ring of the ESRF in Grenoble, with which Neuromed scholars have been collaborating for over a decade, is at the center of these projects. “The X radiations produced by the synchrotron – underlines Giuseppe Battaglia of Neuromed – offer us the opportunity to study the tissues, the nervous ones in our case taken from experimental models, with a resolution that is close to that of the electron microscope. But, unlike of the latter, in order to use the synchrotron radiation, the complex and laborious preparation of the samples is not necessary: ​​the tissues are simply placed under the X-ray beam. of millimeter), we can also see the various intracellular structures in three dimensions and, fundamentally, we can study the characteristics of neurons affected by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease “.” With this technique – says Giada Mascio, Neuromed researcher – we were able to study, on animal models, an experimental molecule with a potential neuroprotective effect ne of the images, together with the three-dimensionality, allowed us to highlight effects of the molecule that could not have been highlighted with the classic analytical methodologies “.” These data obtained with the use of synchrotron X radiation are very encouraging – comments Battaglia – because they tell us that we can more efficiently study the effects of new neuroprotective molecules that are candidates to become drugs, accelerating their identification process “.

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