Exploiting liver cells’ appetite for polystyrene ring “doughnuts”, just a few microns across, might give scientists a new way to deliver drugs selectively, potentially eliminating nasty side effects of life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy.
Mark Bradley and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, UK, serendipitously made the polymer doughnuts while studying potential drug-carrying microparticles.
While synthesising micro-spheres, the team added a small amount of dioxane to their usual ethanol solvent. To their surprise, the resulting microparticles were regular in size and shape, with a hole through the middle like a doughnut.
“Their unique and highly uniform structure was immediately interesting to us and we considered the possible applications they may have – one of which was as carrier particles for cellular delivery,” said Bradley.
When they tested the uptake of the doughnuts into different types of cells, the team found they had an overwhelming preference for liver cells.
The high cell specificity these doughnuts showed led the team to conduct extensive in vivo testing in rats. The doughnuts were injected into the tail and within four hours they were detected solely in the liver region (yellow in image), with no adverse effects observed in the animal after the experiment.
Bradley believes there are other uses for the micro-doughnuts besides drug delivery, such as filtration or purification devices, but the team will be keen to develop their ability to selectively deliver drugs into cells.
Jon Edwards | alfa
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy