Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Designer nano luggage to carry drugs to diseased cells

10.03.2010
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in growing empty particles derived from a plant virus and have made them carry useful chemicals.

The external surface of these nano containers could be decorated with molecules that guide them to where they are needed in the body, before the chemical load is discharged to exert its effect on diseased cells. The containers are particles of the Cowpea mosaic virus, which is ideally suited for designing biomaterial at the nanoscale.

"This is a shot in the arm for all Cowpea mosaic virus technology," says Professor George Lomonossoff of the John Innes Centre, one of the authors on a paper to be published in the specialised nanotechnology scientific journal, Small.

Scientists have previously tried to empty virus particles of their genetic material using irradiation or chemical treatment. Though successful in rendering the particles non-infectious, these methods have not fully emptied the particles.

Scientists at the John Innes Centre, funded by the BBSRC and the John Innes Foundation, discovered they could assemble empty particles from precursors in plants and then extract them to insert chemicals of interest. Scientists at JIC and elsewhere had also previously managed to decorate the surface of virus particles with useful molecules.

"But now we can load them too, creating fancy chemical containers," says lead author Dr Dave Evans.

"This brings a huge change to the whole technology and opens up new areas of research," says Prof Lomonossoff. "We don't really know all the potential applications yet because such particles have not been available before. There is no history of them."

One application could be in cancer treatment. Integrins are molecules that appear on cancer cells. The virus particles could be coated externally with peptides that bind to integrins. This would mean the particles seek out cancer cells to the exclusion of healthy cells. Once bound to the cancer cell, the virus particle would release an anti-cancer agent that has been carried as an internal cargo.

Some current drugs damage healthy cells as well as the cancer, leading to hair loss and other side effects. This technology could deliver the drug in a more targeted way.

"The potential for developing Cowpea mosaic virus as a targeted delivery agent of therapeutics is now a reality," says Dr Evans.

The empty viral particles, their use, and the processes by which they are made, are the subject of a new patent filing. Management of the patent and commercialisation of the technology is being handled by PBL.

The John Innes Centre is an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Contacts

JIC Press Office
Zoe Dunford, Tel: 01603 255111, email: zoe.dunford@bbsrc.ac.uk
Andrew Chapple, Tel: 01603 251490, email: andrew.chapple@bbsrc.ac.uk
Notes to Editors
Full reference: "Cowpea Mosaic Virus Unmodified Empty Virus-Like Particles Can Be Loaded with Metal and Metal Oxide." DOI: 10.1002/smll.200902135

The John Innes Centre, www.jic.ac.uk, is an independent, world-leading research centre in plant and microbial sciences with over 500 staff. JIC is based on Norwich Research Park and carries out high quality fundamental, strategic and applied research to understand how plants and microbes work at the molecular, cellular and genetic levels. The JIC also trains scientists and students, collaborates with many other research laboratories and communicates its science to end-users and the general public. The JIC is grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL) www.pblltechnology.com is a technology development and intellectual property management company owned in equal parts by The Sainsbury Laboratory www.tsl.ac.uk , the John Innes Centre www.jic.ac.uk and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council www.bbsrc.ac.uk. PBL promotes the development and commercial uptake of academic research results for public use and benefit and is specialised in life sciences.

Enquiries regarding access to this technology for commercial applications should be directed to Dr. Martin Stocks martin@pbltechnology.com

Zoe Dunford | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>