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Vincentian part of research team breakthrough on brain disease, cancer

Vincentian part of research team breakthrough on brain disease, cancer

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A Vincentian scientist, considered to be one of the best in the field of immunology, is part of a team of Cornell researchers which has recently discovered a way to access the blood brain barrier (BBB) – thus safely delivering life-saving drugs to treat brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

This medical break-through also has positive implications for the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant {{more}}cancers.

Dr Margaret Bynoe, who is originally from Georgetown, was interviewed in a recent international article and said that she hopes the discovery will be used in future to treat many types of neurological disorders.

Bynoe, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said: “We can open the BBB for a brief window of time, long enough to deliver therapies to the brain, but not too long so as to harm the brain.”

The BBB is composed of a layer of specialized cells, called endothelial cells, which line the brain’s blood vessels and safeguard the brain from unwanted substances. These cells also selectively allow entry of molecules needed for brain function – such as amino acids, oxygen, glucose and water.

Cornell researchers report that an FDA-approved drug called Lexiscan, which is used in heart imaging, activates receptors (called adenosine receptors) that are expressed on these BBB cells.

She added: “This finding has significant implications beyond modulation of the BBB… It suggests that in the future, we may be able to modulate adenosine receptors to regulate P-glycoprotein in the treatment of cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy…

“The potential for a breakthrough in drug delivery systems for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, brain tumours and chemotherapy-resistant cancers is not far off.”

This study appeared in the April 4, 2016 edition of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, of which Bynoe is the senior author, and the research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Kwanjung Educational Foundation.

SEARCHLIGHT first featured Margaret Bynoe in its January 11, 2013 edition, describing the associate professor as a “rising star”, after she discovered a new way to treat multiple sclerosis.

Bynoe is the daughter of Algiya Bynoe, to whom she attributes much of her success. She is a former student of the Langley Park Primary School and the Georgetown Secondary School, although she dropped out of the latter when she became pregnant with her first child.

In later years, she migrated to the US, and starting from scratch, pursued studies in medical technology. She later studied at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yale University, prior to settling at Cornell.

Bynoe also expressed in that SEARCHLIGHT article that she hopes to one day return to St Vincent and the Grenadines so that she can get involved in the training of science teachers.(JSV)

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