announced today that it has licensed the plant virus nanoparticle drug delivery
system developed by Professors" Stefan Franzen and Steven Lommel from North
Carolina State University. "This is breakaway technology that will finally
provide the highly sought after selective targeting of tumors and intracellular
delivery of anti-cancer agents for improved efficacy and fewer unpleasant side
effects," said Albert Bender, Ph.D., NanoVector CEO. "The plant virus
nanoparticle has evolved over millions of years to have several inherent characteristics
essential for a successful nanoparticle delivery system and superior to any
chemistry based nanoparticle designed and engineered by humans.? continued Dr.
Drs. Stefan Franzen, left, and Steve Lommel holding a model of the modified plant virus that is being used as a drug delivery system (Photo: Business Wire)
The most important property of the virus is its built-in sensor-actuator system.
When the virus carrying the therapeutic agent enters a cell, it senses a change
in chemical environment and automatically unloads its cargo. Therefore the highly
toxic therapeutic agent is released only in a cell, never in the blood stream
as with manmade particles that depend upon capsule degradation or require an
external trigger to open the particles for the release of their content. The
benefit derived from this feature of the NanoVector nanoparticle is the minimization
of the toxic side effects associated with free anti-cancer drugs in the blood
stream that attack healthy cells.
A second feature of the plant virus is that its automatic release of cargo
is not instantaneous once the virus enters a cell. This allows time for the
licensed two-stage targeting in which nuclear importins attached to the nanoparticle
guide it into the cell nucleus where it unloads its therapeutic agent, thereby
maximizing efficacy and evading the cancer cell defenses. Delivery to the nucleus
overcomes multi-drug resistance that occurs with current drug therapies.
Robustly protecting its cargo in very harsh environments is another property
of the NanoVector plant virus nanoparticle. Unlike other viruses, the NanoVector
plant virus is non-toxic to humans and, without specific cell targeting, will
not accumulate in any body organs or otherwise healthy tissue. This makes it
the perfect vehicle for targeted intracellular therapeutics.