In the images of fruit flies, clusters of neurons are all lit up, forming a brightly glowing network of highways within the brain. It's exactly what University at Buffalo researcher Shermali Gunawardena was hoping to see: It meant that ORMOSIL, a novel class of nanoparticles, had successfully penetrated the insects' brains. And even after long-term exposure, the cells and the flies themselves remained unharmed.
The particles, which are tagged with fluorescent proteins, hold promise as a potential vehicle for drug delivery. Each particle is a vessel, containing cavities that scientists could potentially fill with helpful chemical compounds or gene therapies to send to different parts of the human body. Gunawardena is particularly interested in using ORMOSIL — organically modified silica — to target problems within neurons that may be related to neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease.
Source: : http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13116