New technology may make it possible to better control the release of drugs in the human body – using light.
Research inspired by the measles virus found that when its genetic material is inserted into a cell, it forms compartments that host all the reactions involved in the formation of new viral particles – termed ‘viral factories’.
Recent studies show that these viral factories are dynamic, and that they are liquid-like structures that are formed inside the infected host cell.
The protein responsible for the formation of these viral factories inspired researchers at Tel Aviv University to design their own peptide, or short protein, to form their own compartments.
These compartments housed biochemicals – or chemicals from living organisms – such as amino acids, vitamins, and carbohydrates.
They also incorporated a unique element to the protein that enables the release of the molecules by irradiating the compartments using UV light.
“Another unique property of this system is the high permeability and loading capacity of the encapsulated molecules, which is limited in part by current technologies,” said Dr Ayala Lampel, of the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University, who supervised the research.
“Thus, this technology opens opportunities for biomedical and biotechnological applications including encapsulation, delivery and release of drugs, protein, antibodies or other therapeutic molecules.”
The study was published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials.