Hydrogels for Brain Repair: Application to Parkinson's Disease
Ruben Del Campo-Montoya 1 , María-Rosario Luquin 2 , Elena Puerta 1 , E Garbayo 3 , Maria Blanco-Prieto 4
Introduction: Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Currently, there are no curative therapies, with only symptomatic treatment available. One of the principal reasons for the lack of treatments is the problem of delivering drugs to the brain, mainly due to the blood-brain barrier. Hydrogels are presented as ideal platforms for delivering treatments to the brain ranging from small molecules to cell replacement therapies.
Areas covered: The potential application of hydrogel-based therapies for Parkinson's disease is addressed. The desirable composition and mechanical properties of these therapies for brain application are discussed, alongside the preclinical research available with hydrogels in Parkinson's disease. Lastly, translational and manufacturing challenges are presented.
Expert opinion: Parkinson's disease urgently needs novel therapies to delay its progression and for advanced stages, at which conventional therapies fail to control motor symptoms. Neurotrophic factor-loaded hydrogels with stem cells offer one of the most promising therapies. This approach may increase the striatal dopamine content while protecting and promoting the differentiation of stem cells although the generation of synapses between engrafted and host cells remains an issue to overcome. Other challenges to consider are related to the route of administration of hydrogels and their large-scale production, required to accelerate their translation toward the clinic.