Navigation Links
Molecular nano-spies to make light work of disease detection
Date:1/14/2014

A world of cloak-and-dagger pharmaceuticals has come a step closer with the development of stealth compounds programmed to spring into action when they receive the signal.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham's School of Pharmacy have designed and tested large molecular complexes that will reveal their true identity only when they've reached their intended target, like disguised saboteurs working deep behind enemy lines.

The compounds have been developed as part of a five-year programme funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) called "Bar-Coded Materials".

The cloak each spherical complex wears is perhaps more a plastic mac: a sheath of biocompatible polymer that encapsulates and shrouds biologically active material inside, preventing any biological interaction so long as the shield remains in place.

The smart aspect is in the DNA-based zips that hold the coat in place until triggered to undo. Because any DNA code (or "molecular cipher") can be chosen, the release mechanism can be bar-coded so that it is triggered by a specific biomarker for example a message from a disease gene.

What is then exposed an active pharmaceutical compound, a molecular tag to attach to diseased tissue, or a molecular beacon to signal activation depends on what function is needed.

Professor Cameron Alexander, who leads the project, says: "These types of switchable nanoparticles could be extremely versatile. As well as initial detection of a medical condition, they could be used to monitor the progress of diseases and courses of treatment, or adapted to deliver potent drugs at particular locations in a patient's body. It might even become possible to use mobile phones rather than medical scanners to detect programmed responses from later generations of the devices."

In their initial trials, the team has proved the concept works in the test tube the switchable molecular constructs do respond as expected when presented with the right molecular signals. The group is now working hard to push their idea forwards.

An early application might be in dipstick technology testing for specific infections in a blood or spit sample, for example. But because the polymer coating (called polyethylene glycol) is biocompatible, the researchers are hopeful that in the long run "self-authenticating medicines" based on the approach could be injected into patients, to seek out diseased tissue, and report their success.

"The key to this breakthrough has been the five-year EPSRC Leadership Fellowship awarded to me back in 2009", Professor Alexander comments. "This has provided the stability of funding to recruit and retain an outstanding team, who have been integral to realising the ideas put forward in the Fellowship. It has also given us the freedom to explore a whole range of new concepts, as well as the time needed to test our ideas to bring this and other breakthroughs within reach".


'/>"/>

Contact: EPSRC Press Office
pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk
01-793-444-404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Research shows molecular, protein targeting therapies may be best treatment for certain lung cancer
2. Molecular Diagnostics Role in Cancer Testing Analyzed in In-demand TriMark Report Published at MarketPublishers.com
3. New molecular targets identified in some hard-to-treat melanomas provide potential treatment option
4. The Association for Molecular Pathology releases position statement on LDTs
5. Polymer coatings based on molecular structures
6. Supercomputers help ORNL researchers identify key molecular switch that controls cell behavior
7. Mayo Clinic: Drug induces morphologic, molecular and clinical remissions in myelofibrosis
8. Maryville, Tennessee based Molecular Pathology Laboratory Network, Inc. (MPLN) Acquires the First FDA Approved High-Throughput DNA Sequencing Analyzer
9. Treatment plans for brain metastases more accurately determined with aid of molecular imaging trace
10. ATCC Examined the Importance of High-quality Controls in Assay Design and Development During the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) 2013 Annual Meeting
11. BCC Research Publishes A New Report On Global Markets For Molecular Imaging Devices
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme ... “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was ... other children and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of ... AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening ... Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to ... at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its ... Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) ... held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, ... organization dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS ... the Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to ... the Company,s stock which is currently listed on the ... S Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing ... be difficult to understand, not only by the Company, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay Area ... Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness ... and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, ... today announced the five finalists of Lyme ... disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016  American ... function testing company, is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments ... ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. Patients are no ...  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne ... needed testing done in the comfort of her own home. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: