Nanopores could open door for targeted cell therapies

Researchers investigating treating disease on a nano scale have developed a selective revolving door through a cell's lipid membrane.

The technology could be of particular use in gene therapy, which involves introducing genetic material into degenerated cells to disable or reprogram them. It could also be used in targeted drug delivery,

"‪We are now able to engineer biological nanopores, but the difficult part is to precisely control the passage of molecules through the nanopores' doorways. We do not want the nanopore to let everything in. Rather, we want to limit entry to specific genetic information in specific cells," Giovanni Maglia, professor of biochemistry, molecular and structural biology at the Belgian university KU Leuven, said in an announcement.

The research was published at Nature Communications.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers just this week announced work on a "stealth" drug delivery system to attack aggressive, but drug-resistant triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

That work involves sneaking in nanoparticles carrying the cancer drug doxorubicin, as well as short strands of RNA that can shut off one of the genes that cancer cells use to escape the drug.

Their work, published at ACS Nano, describes how they were able to shrink triple-negative breast tumors in mice, though they say the system could be customized for other uses.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, similarly, have developed what they call the "NanoJacket" particle that targets a genetic mutation that causes overexpression of an oncogenic protein in breast cancer patients.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- find the research