These antibodies, which are naturally available in the camelid family (camels, dromedaries, llamas, and alpacas) may be part of a "game changer" in the outcomes for people with brain diseases, researchers from the US and France believe.
"This basic biological investigation opens new pathways toward innovative therapeutic solutions for intractable diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or brain tumours," said Pierre Lafaye, a researcher involved in the work from the Institut Pasteur, PF: Production de Proteines Recombinantes et d'Anticorps -Proteopole in Paris, France.
"The importance of this study is the hope that this novel approach may be a useful tool in crossing the blood brain barrier for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes," added Babbette Weksler, Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, another author of the study.
Researchers studied the camelid family, and discovered an antibody naturally able to cross the blood brain barrier without chemical modification.
Additional research showed that after these antibodies entered the brain successfully, they diffused into the brain tissue to reach a target, which in this study was astrocytes.
The study showed, for the first time, an antibody penetrated into the brain in vivo, under normal physiological conditions, researchers said in a statement.
"Camels may be most famous for helping people travel to the outermost reaches of the desert, but soon they could be also known for helping us reach the innermost parts of our brains," said Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal in which the study was published.
"It appears that these prized animals are far more capable of helping get to hard-to-reach places than we ever could have imagined," he added.