Scientists from Alnylam teamed with MIT researchers to develop a new nanoparticle platform with which to better deliver the genetic material to the liver. With MIT professor Robert Langer as one of its authors, the team published a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlighting its particles, which are inspired by the vehicles the body uses to transport cholesterol.
Patients with muscular dystrophy suffer from the dysfunction of the gene that produces dystrophin, which is a protein that maintains muscle cells' performance. And a team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that another factor might also play a role in the weakened muscles: The cells aren't properly recycling their waste.
MIT professor and entrepreneur Robert Langer is behind another innovative nanotechnology application for drug delivery, this time helping develop a model that could help researchers understand the way nanoparticles penetrate blood vessel walls.
A University of Rhode Island researcher won a National Institutes of Health grant of $1.3 million to further study the use of cancer-targeting copper sulfide nanoparticles for breast cancer.
High-density lipoproteins are a key component in the transportation of molecules such as cholesterol and fats inside the body. And by using a synthetic nanoparticle version of these natural vehicles, researchers have found a way to deliver drugs to the heart that could potentially prevent repeat heart attacks or stroke.
A nanoparticle with a specific code mechanism for release could allow drug-carrying vehicles to issue their payload upon contact with a specific biomarker. Now, researchers have developed a nanoparticle that uses coded DNA as this kind of "on-off" switch.
To be able to make vaccines on site simply and effectively would greatly benefit remote areas that are often hampered by both distance from the source of vaccines and the difficulty of refrigeration. And researchers at the University of Washington have developed a nanotech delivery solution that could give vaccinators a leg up in the field.
Two birds with one stone? How about two drug targets with one delivery vehicle? Researchers in North Carolina have developed a single nanoparticle capable of carrying two separate drugs to two different locations in a cancer cell. The aim is to program the delivery in such a way that maximizes the efficiency of each drug.
Often when using nanoparticles to target and penetrate cancer cells, the shape of the tiny drug-carrying vehicles is crucial to their performance. Researchers have now found evidence that "worm-shaped" nanoparticles may be more effective than spheres at delivering cancer drugs to breast cancer.
To get through a dense jungle, you'll need to clear a path. Similarly, to get past a thick network of scaffolding that often prevents drugs from reaching cancer cells, UCLA researchers have developed nanoparticles capable of clearing a path for drugs to pass through to a tumor.