Custom-made gels suitable for drug delivery

Sep 07, 2010

That gels based on proteins from yeasts can be used as drug delivery systems and carriers of antibodies is the most important conclusion from the Helena Teles’ doctoral research at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. The custom-made proteins from the yeast Pichia pastoris are an alternative for animal gelatines and collagens used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Teles' research shows that when other proteins are enclosed in the gel, they slowly leak out. Moreover, it turns out that erosion causes the gel to slowly dissolve from the exterior to the interior. In this way, all proteins enclosed in the gel are slowly passed on to the environment. These characteristics make the gels, which are derived from yeasts, suitable for .

Custom-made protein gels

Researchers Frits de Wolf and Marc Werten from Food & Biobased Research designed these protein , which collectively form a network and swell in water. Each molecule consists of two small end pieces and a large middle piece, all of which can be custom designed. The molecule's short ends bond with the other molecules to form a network. The resulting gel can enclose other molecules, such as medicines or , proteins that are used by the human body to eliminate viruses and bacteria. Pieces of can also be built into the gel molecules themselves.

By letting the yeasts produce shorter or longer molecules, the melting temperature or the rigidity of the gel, for example, changes, and this can cause slower or faster delivery. Senior researcher De Wolf explains, "Because we can adjust their properties, these gels from biomaterial are also very suitable for other applications, for example, to cover a wound, to reinforce connective tissue or to seal off blood vessels during an operation.”

Alternative for animal products

These gels can offer an alternative to the animal-based gels, and possibly to the synthetic polymers, which are currently being used in the pharmaceutical and medical industries. These industries are looking for animal-free alternatives for gelatine and collagen because of the virus and prion contamination risks that animal-based gelatines and collagens bring with them.

Helena M. De Albuquerque Ferreira Teles is defending her dissertation on Tuesday, 7 September, with Prof. dr. Gerrit Eggink, Professor of Industrial Biotechnology at Wageningen University.

Explore further: Smartgels are thicker than water

Provided by Wageningen University

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New and improved right to the last drop

Jul 26, 2006

Biomolecules have become almost ubiquitous in laundry and personal care products. Biological washing powders usually contain enzymes to help digest stains while the latest shampoos and conditioners often use proteins to add ...

Proteins in gel

Jun 24, 2009

Biochips carrying thousands of DNA fragments are widely used for examining genetic material. Experts would also like to have biochips on which proteins are anchored. This requires a gel layer which can now ...

DNA-based gel produces proteins without live cells

Apr 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new method developed by Cornell biological engineers offers an efficient way to make proteins for use in medicine or industry without the use of live cells. The proteins made in this way ...

New silver nanoparticle skin gel for healing burns

Jul 22, 2009

Scientists in India are reporting successful laboratory tests of a new and potentially safer alternative to silver-based gels applied to the skin of burn patients to treat infections. With names like silver ...

Recommended for you

Smartgels are thicker than water

Sep 19, 2014

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

Separation of para and ortho water

Sep 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

User comments : 0