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Vaults Enclosing Nanodisks of Drugs for Nanomedical Applications

Published on April 28, 2011 at 5:30 AM

By Cameron Chai

A UCLA research team has discovered a method to deliver target drugs using nanotechnology. The team was led by Leonard H. Rome and included Daniel C. Buehler and Valerie Kickhoefer from the UCLA Department of Biological Chemistry, Daniel B. Toso and Z. Hong Zhou from the UCLA Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA.

The research paper will appear in the May 23 print edition of the journal, Small, the team reveals how to enclose drug-filled nanodisks within vault nanoparticles. The nanoparticles are nanoscale capsules that exist naturally and designed for medical drug delivery.

Vault nanoparticles exist in the cytoplasm of all cells prevalent in mammals and are ribonucleoprotein composites in the below100nm range. A vault is a nanocapsule shaped like a barrel featuring a big empty space inside, allowing them to be developed into drug-delivery carriers. The ability to hold small-molecule curative compounds into vaults is vital to their development for drug delivery. Recombinant vaults have been developed into cell-surface receptor targeting and packaging of multiple proteins, and are non-immunogenic.

According to Rome, CNSI associate director and a professor of biological chemistry, a vault comprises proteins and does not damage the body. They release medicines slowly like a sieve, through nano-pores. This makes for a flexible drug delivery system. The internal vacuum of the vault can contain multiple drugs, and can penetrate target cells because they are as tiny as microbes.

UCLA postdoctoral student Daniel Buhler has developed a nanod0sk to enclose nanoparticles to deliver the drug into the inner hole or lumen. The drug-filled nanodisks are injected into the vault cavity and protected from outside medium. Multiple NDs could enhance the concentration of the drugs at one place. The vaults are designed to hold the insoluble and toxic hydrophobic amalgam, all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) with a vault-binding lipoprotein complex to create a lipid bilayer nanodisk.

Source: http://www.ucla.edu

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