Scientists at the Mainz University Medical Center and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have developed a new method to enable miniature drug-filled nanocarriers to dock on to immune cells, which in turn attack tumors. In the future, this may lead to targeted treatment that can largely eliminate damage to healthy tissue. The scientists have recently published their findings in the renowned scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology. Please watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFVnBBWhCro for further information on the way nanocarriers work and function.
In modern medicine, patients receiving medication to treat tumors or for pain therapy are often given drugs that disperse throughout the entire body, even though the section of the organ to be treated may be only small and clearly demarcated. One solution would be to administer drugs that target specific cell types. Such nanocarriers are just what scientists are working to develop.
These contain, in a manner of speaking, miniature submarines no larger than a thousandth of the diameter of a human hair. Invisible to the naked eye, these nanocarriers are loaded with a pharmacologically-active agent, allowing them to function as concentrated transport containers.
The surface of these nanocarriers or drug capsules is specially coated to enable them, for example, to dock on to tissue interspersed with tumor cells. The coating is usually composed of antibodies that act much like address labels to seek out binding sites on the target cells, such as tumor cells or immune cells that attack tumors.
Professor Volker Mailänder and his team from the Department of Dermatology at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have recently developed an ingenious new method of binding antibodies to such drug capsules. "Up to now, we have always had to use elaborate chemical methods to bind these antibodies to nanocapsules," explained Mailänder. "We have now been able to show that all that you need to do is to combine antibodies and nanocapsules together in an acidified solution."
In their paper in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers emphasize that binding nanocapsules and antibodies in this way is almost twice as efficient as chemical bonding in the test tube, significantly improving the targeted transport of drugs. In conditions such as those found in the blood, they also found that chemically coupled antibodies almost completely lost their efficacy, while antibodies that are not chemically attached remained functional.
"The standard method of binding antibodies using complex chemical processes can degrade antibodies or even destroy them, or the nanocarrier in the blood can become rapidly covered with proteins," explained Professor Katharina Landfester from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. In contrast, the new method, which is based on the physical effect known as adsorption or adhesion, protects the antibodies. This makes the nanocarrier more stable and enables it to distribute the drugs more effectively in the body.
To develop their new method, the researchers combined antibodies and drug transporters in an acidic solution. This led – in contrast to binding at a neutral pH – to more efficient coating of the nanoparticle surface. As the researchers explain, this leaves less room on the nanocarrier for blood proteins that could prevent them from docking to a target cell.
Overall, the researchers are confident that the newly developed method will facilitate and improve the efficiency and applicability of therapy methods based on nanotechnology.
About the project:
This project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) Collaborative Research Center 1066 “Nanodimensional polymer therapeutics for tumor therapy” and by the Research Center for Immunotherapy (FZI) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
Combining a tiny drug capsule – a nanocarrier – with antibodies under acidic conditions results in the antibodies attaching to the drug carrier in a stable way. This makes it possible for nanocarriers to target diseased tissue.
This graphic can be used free of charge provided its source is indicated:
Mainz University Medical Center
55131 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 17-7428
fax +49 6131 17-3496
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research
The Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) is one of the leading international research centers in the field of polymer research. Its research focus on soft matter and macromolecular materials makes it unique worldwide. Its goal is to produce and characterize new polymers. It also investigates their physical and chemical properties. The MPI-P was founded in 1984. It employs more than 500 people from Germany and abroad, the vast majority of whom are involved in research.
About the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
The University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is the only medical facility providing supramaximal care in Rhineland-Palatinate while also functioning as an internationally recognized hub of medical science. It has more than 60 clinics, institutes, and departments that collaborate across the various disciplines. Highly specialized patient care, research, and teaching form an integral whole at the Mainz University Medical Center. Approximately 3,300 students are trained in medicine and dentistry in Mainz. With its approximately 7,500 personnel, the Mainz University Medical Center is also one of the largest employers in the region and an important driver of growth and innovation.
Further information is available online at http://www.unimedizin-mainz.de/index.php?id=240&L=1
Professor Dr. Volker Mailänder
Department of Dermatology
Mainz University Medical Center
55131 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 17-0
Oliver Kreft M.A. | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
When added to gene therapy, plant-based compound may enable faster, more effective treatments
18.10.2019 | Scripps Research Institute
Diabetes: A next-generation therapy soon available?
17.10.2019 | Université de Genève
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
18.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.10.2019 | Medical Engineering
18.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy