Synthetic protocells can be made to move toward and away from chemical signals, an important step for the development of new drug-delivery systems that could target specific locations in the body. By coating the surface of the protocells with enzymes–proteins that catalyze chemical reactions–a team of researchers at Penn State was able to control the direction of the protocell’s movement in a chemical gradient in a microfluidic device.
A paper describing the research appears in the journal Nature Nanotechnology (“Positive and negative chemotaxis of enzyme-coated liposome motors”).
“The futuristic vision is to have drugs delivered by tiny ‘bots’ that can transport the drug to the specific location where it is needed,” said Ayusman Sen, the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Chemistry at Penn State and the leader of the research team. “Currently, if you take an antibiotic for an infection in your leg, it diffuses throughout your entire body. So, you have to take a higher dose in order to get enough of the antibiotic to your leg where it is needed. If we can control the directional movement of a drug-delivery system, we not only reduce the amount of the drug required but also can increase its speed of delivery.”

Image Credit:  Ambika Somasundar, Penn State

Read more at nanowerk.com

News This Week

New Adjustments to Hyperspectral Microscopy of Nanomaterials

Hyperspectral microscopy is an advanced visualization technique that combines hyperspectral imaging with state-of-the-art optics and computer software to enable rapid identification of nanomaterials. Since hyperspectral datacubes are large, their acquisition is complicated and time-consuming. [...]

Through the quantum looking glass

An ultrathin invention could make future computing, sensing and encryption technologies remarkably smaller and more powerful by helping scientists control a strange but useful phenomenon of quantum mechanics, according to new research recently published [...]

A plastic film that can kill viruses using room lights

Graphical abstract. Credit: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2022.112551 Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have developed a plastic film that can kill viruses that land on its surface with room light. The [...]

Bone formation comes down to the nanowire

Nanotechnology that accelerates the transition of stem cells into bone could advance regenerative medicine. A nanotechnology platform developed by KAUST scientists could lead to new treatments for degenerative bone diseases. The system takes advantage [...]