UCLA scientists store materials in cells' natural vaults

Mar 08, 2005

Method may offer safer way to target drugs to living cells

In the realm of nanotechnology, or study of the tiny, scientists often aim to safely deliver and leave material in the human body without causing harm. A big challenge is how to design a package for this biomaterial that will be compatible with living cells and will not provoke an immune reaction. Previous efforts have relied upon viruses or artificial chemicals to house and deliver drugs or other substances to targeted cells.

Scientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have exploited thousands of tiny capsules in cells to store vast amounts of biomaterial. Dubbed vaults – for their high arches reminiscent of cathedral ceilings – these naturally occurring capsules may prove less likely to elicit an immune response than foreign carriers like viruses.

The UCLA discovery will enable many potential applications, including:

-- Therapeutic delivery, such as homing cancer drugs directly to a tumor cell without harming healthy tissue
-- Enzyme delivery to replace missing or defective enzymes, such as those that cause Tay Sachs disease
-- DNA delivery to correct genetic mutations
-- Timed release of drugs, enzymes and DNA
-- Extracting and imprisoning cellular toxins into the vault
-- Stabilizing proteins in vaults to increase their lifespans

Publication: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0500929102v1

Source: University of California - Los Angeles

Explore further: Technique for quantification of erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin IX and protoporphyrin IX

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scalping can raise ticket prices

5 hours ago

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. ...

Tropical Storm Genevieve forms in Eastern Pacific

7 hours ago

The seventh tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean formed and quickly ramped up to a tropical storm named "Genevieve." NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an infrared image of the newborn storm ...

Recommended for you

A new way to make microstructured surfaces

Jul 30, 2014

A team of researchers has created a new way of manufacturing microstructured surfaces that have novel three-dimensional textures. These surfaces, made by self-assembly of carbon nanotubes, could exhibit a ...

Tough foam from tiny sheets

Jul 29, 2014

Tough, ultralight foam of atom-thick sheets can be made to any size and shape through a chemical process invented at Rice University.

User comments : 0