New technologies such as optogenetics have allowed us to identify similar microstructures in the brain. However, these techniques rely on liquid infusions into the brain, which prepare the regions to be studied to respond to light. These infusions are done with large needles, which do not have the fine control to target specific regions. Clinical therapy has also lagged behind. New drug therapies aimed at treating these conditions are delivered orally, which results in drug distribution throughout the brain, or through large needle-cannulas, which do not have the fine control to accurately dose specific regions. As a result, patients of neurologic and psychiatric disorders frequently fail to respond to therapies due to poor drug delivery to diseased regions.
A new study addressing this problem has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team developed tools to enable targeted delivery of nanoliters of drugs to deep brain structures through chronically implanted microprobes.