Under-twisted DNA origami delivers cancer drugs to tumors

Sep 13, 2012

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden describe in a new study how so-called DNA origami can enhance the effect of certain cytostatics used in the treatment of cancer. With the aid of modern nanotechnology, scientists can target drugs direct to the tumour while leaving surrounding healthy tissue untouched.

The drug has long been used as a cytostatic (toxin) for cancer treatment but can cause serious adverse reactions such as myocardial disease and severe nausea. Because of this, scientists have been trying to find a means of delivering the drug to the morbid without affecting healthy cells. A possible solution that many are pinning their hopes on is to use different types of nanoparticles as 'projectiles' primed with the active substance.

In the present study, which is published in the scientific journal ACS Nano, scientists at Karolinska Institutet show how DNA origami can be used as such a projectile (or carrier) of doxorubicin. DNA origami is a new technique for building nanostrucutres from DNA, the found in the . Using this technique, researchers can produce highly complex nanostrucutres with surfaces to which complex patterns of proteins and many other molecules can easily be attached.

What the researchers did on this occasion was to package the doxorubicin in a DNA origami configuration designed in such a way that relaxed the degree of twist of the . This allowed the drug to be released more slowly and operate more effectively on the at lower concentrations than is otherwise possible.

"When the DNA has a lower degree of twist, there's more room for the doxorubicin to become attached, which leads to its slower release," says group leader Dr Björn Högberg. "Another advantage to using DNA origami is that we will quickly be able to develop the targeted protein system. This will enable us to deliver drugs in a way that is even more sparing of healthy cells."

Explore further: Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle

More information: 'A DNA Origami Delivery System for Cancer Therapy with Tunable Release Properties', Yong-Xing Zhao, Alan Shaw, Xianghui Zeng, Erik Benson, Andreas M. Nyström & Björn Högberg, ACS Nano, online first 5 September 2012. pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn3022662

Related Stories

Overcoming cancer drug resistance with nanoparticles

Jan 20, 2012

One of the ways in which cancer cells evade anticancer therapy is by producing a protein that pumps drugs out of the cell before these compounds can exert their cell-killing effects. A research team at Northwestern University ...

The promise of nanomanufacturing using DNA origami

Mar 07, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- In recent years, scientists have begun to harness DNA’s powerful molecular machinery to build artificial structures at the nanoscale using the natural ability of pairs of DNA molecules ...

DNA motor programmed to navigate a network of tracks

Jan 22, 2012

Expanding on previous work with engines traveling on straight tracks, a team of researchers at Kyoto University and the University of Oxford have successfully used DNA building blocks to construct a motor ...

Recommended for you

Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle

20 hours ago

Kit Lam and colleagues from UC Davis and other institutions have created dynamic nanoparticles (NPs) that could provide an arsenal of applications to diagnose and treat cancer. Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles ...

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules

Aug 22, 2014

Anyone who has suffered an injury can probably remember the after-effects, including pain, swelling or redness. These are signs that the body is fighting back against the injury. When tissue in the body is damaged, biological ...

Cut flowers last longer with silver nanotechnology

Aug 21, 2014

Once cut and dunked in a vase of water, flowers are susceptible to bacterial growth that shortens the length of time one has to enjoy the blooms. A few silver nanoparticles sprinkled into the water, might be the answer to ...

Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels

Aug 20, 2014

A simple and effective way of unravelling the often tangled mass of DNA is to 'thread' the strand into a nano-channel. A study carried out with the participation of the International School for Advanced Studies ...

User comments : 0