A new drug delivery system that uses a synthetic-biological hybrid nanocapsule could provide a smart technology for targeted treatment of a variety of serious diseases at the genetic level.

The hybrid offers a way to correct diseased cells at the genetic level – while at the same time leaving healthy cells alone – to increase the effectiveness of treatments and reduce unwanted side effects.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all delivery system,” says Jessica Rouge, assistant professor of chemistry at UConn, and author of a new paper on the technology in Bioconjugate Chemistry (“Programmable Peptide-Cross-Linked Nucleic Acid Nanocapsules as a Modular Platform for Enzyme Specific Cargo Release”). “The beauty of this system is that it is programmable, modular, and has the ability to rapidly integrate diverse peptide sequences. It can be tailored to combat new disease challenges as they emerge.”

The delivery platform, featured in the paper by Rouge and her research team, combines synthetic peptides, surfactants, and nucleic acids to form a nanocapsule that allows time-appropriate, enzyme-specific co-release of a given pharmaceutical and an oligonucleotide (DNA or RNA).
These findings build on Rouge’s work to understand how enzymes and nucleic acids can be used in new ways to engineer highly specific and targeted responses in chemical and biological systems.

Read more at nanowerk.com

Image Credit:  Joseph Luciani/UConn

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