Washington State University researchers have developed a novel way to deliver drugs and therapies into cells at the nanoscale without causing toxic effects that have stymied other such efforts.
The work could someday lead to more effective therapies and diagnostics for cancer and other illnesses.
Schematic representation of the movement of the flower-like particle as it makes its way through a cellular trap to deliver therapeutic genes.
Led by Yuehe Lin, professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Chunlong Chen, senior scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the research team developed biologically inspired materials at the nanoscale that were able to effectively deliver model therapeutic genes into tumor cells. They published their results in the journal, Small.
Researchers have been working to develop nanomaterials that can effectively carry therapeutic genes directly into the cells for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.
The key issues for gene delivery using nanomaterials are their low delivery efficiency of medicine and potential toxicity.
"To develop nanotechnology for medical purposes, the first thing to consider is toxicity -- That is the first concern for doctors," said Lin.
The flower-like particle the WSU and PNNL team developed is about 150 nanometers in size, or about one thousand times smaller than the width of a piece of paper.
It is made of sheets of peptoids, which are similar to natural peptides that make up proteins. The peptoids make for a good drug delivery particle because they're fairly easy to synthesize and, because they're similar to natural biological materials, work well in biological systems.
The researchers added fluorescent probes in their peptoid nanoflowers, so they could trace them as they made their way through cells, and they added the element fluorine, which helped the nanoflowers more easily escape from tricky cellular traps that often impede drug delivery.
The flower-like particles loaded with therapeutic genes were able to make their way smoothly out of the predicted cellular trap, enter the heart of the cell, and release their drug there.
"The nanoflowers successfully and rapidly escaped (the cell trap) and exhibited minimal cytotoxicity," said Lin.
After their initial testing with model drug molecules, the researchers hope to conduct further studies using real medicines.
"This paves a new way for us to develop nanocargoes that can efficiently deliver drug molecules into the cell and offers new opportunities for targeted gene therapies," he said.
The WSU and PNNL team have filed a patent application for the new technology, and they are seeking industrial partners for further development.
The work was funded by Washington State University start-up funds and the Department of Energy.
Yuehe Lin | EurekAlert!
Nitric oxide-scavenging hydrogel developed for rheumatoid arthritis treatment
06.06.2019 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)
Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.
The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.
Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
17.06.2019 | Information Technology
17.06.2019 | Earth Sciences
17.06.2019 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation