Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
RANDOX LABORATORIES

Events

25 May 2016 - 27 May 2016
06 Jun 2016 - 09 Jun 2016
22 Jun 2016 - 24 Jun 2016

Nanoparticles Designed to Deliver Drugs to Targeted Cells

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 16 Jul 2014
Print article
Image: The nanoparticles, which are capable of delivering and exchanging complementary molecules, emit a fluorescent signal that can be observed with a microscope (Photo courtesy of the University of Miami).
Image: The nanoparticles, which are capable of delivering and exchanging complementary molecules, emit a fluorescent signal that can be observed with a microscope (Photo courtesy of the University of Miami).
Investigators are exploring the use and behavior of nanoparticles to deliver molecules to target cells.

There is a great demand for the development of nanoparticles that can transport and deliver drugs to target cells in the human body. Researchers from the University of Miami (UM; Coral Gables, USA) have created nanoparticles that, under favorable settings, can self-assemble, ensnaring complementary guest molecules within their structure. These adaptable nanocarriers can travel in the aqueous environment encircling cells and transport their passenger molecules through the membrane of living cells to sequentially deliver their payload.

Although the transport of molecules inside cells with nanoparticles has been earlier achieved using various methods, researchers have developed nanoparticles capable of delivering and exchanging complementary molecules. For practical applications, these nanocarriers are highly desirable, reported Francisco Raymo, professor of chemistry in the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences and lead investigator of the project. “The ability to deliver distinct species inside cells independently and force them to interact, exclusively in the intracellular environment, can evolve into a valuable strategy to activate drugs inside cells,” said Prof. Raymo.

The new nanocarriers are 15 nm in diameter. They are supramolecular constructs comprised of amphiphilic polymers. These nanocarriers hold the guest molecules within the boundaries of their water-insoluble core and use their water-soluble exterior to move through an aqueous environment. As a result, these nanovehicles are is suitable for transferring molecules, which would otherwise be insoluble in water, across a liquid environment.

“Once inside a living cell, the particles mix and exchange their cargo. This interaction enables the energy transfer between the internalized molecules,” said Prof. Raymo, director of UM’s laboratory for molecular photonics. “If the complementary energy donors and acceptors are loaded separately and sequentially, the transfer of energy between them occurs exclusively within the intracellular space. As the energy transfer takes place, the acceptors emit a fluorescent signal that can be observed with a microscope.”

Crucial for this process are the noncovalent bonds that loosely hold the supramolecular constructs together. These weak bonds exist between molecules with complementary shapes and electronic characteristics. They are responsible for the ability of supramolecules to assemble spontaneously in liquid environments. Under the right conditions, the reversibility of these weak noncovalent contacts allows the supramolecular constructs to exchange their components as well as their cargo.

The research was conducted with cell cultures. It is not yet known if the nanoparticles can actually travel through the bloodstream. “That would be the dream, but we have no evidence that they can actually do so,” said Prof. Raymo. “However, this is the direction we are heading.”

The next step of this study involves demonstrating that this method can be used to do chemical reactions inside cells, instead of energy transfers. “The size of these nanoparticles, their dynamic character, and the fact that the reactions take place under normal biological conditions [at ambient temperature and neutral environment] makes these nanoparticles an ideal vehicle for the controlled activation of therapeutics directly inside the cells,” Prof. Raymo concluded.

The study’s findings were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Related Links:

University of Miami



Print article

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: Follicular helper T-cells (TFH cells, shown in blue) play a crucial role in the maturation of antibody-producing B-cells (shown in green). Activated B-cells give rise germinal centers (shown in red), where mature B-cells proliferate and produce highly specific antibodies against pathogens. Top left: normal germinal center in a mouse tonsil. All others: Germinal centers fail to form when the interaction between ICOS and TBK1 is interrupted (Photo courtesy of Dr. Kok-Fai Kong, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology).

Molecular Pathway Controlling High-affinity Antibody Production Identified

A molecular pathway has been identified that controls formation of follicular helper T-cells (TFH cells) germinal centers and production of high-affinity antibodies through interaction with the inducible... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel

Experimental Small-Molecule Anticancer Drug Blocks RAS-binding Domains

The experimental small-molecule anticancer drug rigosertib was shown to block tumor growth by acting as an RAS-mimetic and interacting with the RAS binding domains of RAF kinases, resulting in their inability to bind to RAS, which inhibited the RAS-RAF-MEK pathway. Oncogenic activation of RAS genes due to point mutations... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel
Image: A space-filling model of the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Wastewater May Contaminate Crops with Potentially Dangerous Pharmaceuticals

Reclaimed wastewater used to irrigate crops is contaminated with pharmaceutical residues that can be detected in the urine of those who consumed such produce. Investigators at the Hebrew University... Read more

Business

view channel

European Biotech Agreement to Promote Antigen-Drug Conjugation Technology

Two European biotech companies have joined forces to exploit and commercialize an innovative, site-specific ADC (antigen-drug conjugate) conjugation technology. ProBioGen (Berlin, Germany), a company specializing in the development and manufacture of complex glycoproteins and Eucodis Bioscience (Vienna, Austria), a... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2016 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.