An international research team – the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute);Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (State University), Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, and Macquarie University, Sydney (Australia) – has designed a universal medication builder which will make it easier and more effective when it comes to coupling nanoparticles with molecules-detectors of hazardous cells, for example, cancer cells. The results of the research were published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.8b01627?journalCode=aamick).
Nanoparticles have a variety of uses in modern medicine. Sometimes they become “killers” ofthings like tumorsandviruses, acting as targets for the human immunity system or laser beams that heat the particles and kill hazardous cells.
Another variation is to engage a particle in carrying toxic molecules straight to the hotbed of the infection: such zero-dimensional therapy would make it possible for a smaller dose to kill the tumors and thus lowerthe risks of the treatment for those patients concerned.
The problem is that such nanoparticles need to be guided to identify targets on the surface of cancer cells. This is why special protein marker srecognizing cancer cells have to be manually placed on their surface using complicated methods.
A team of scientists led by Sergei Deyev, Head of the Biomolecular Technologies Laboratory at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, made an important advance in this area with the help of a couple of proteins discovered in Bacillus amylo liquefaciens bacteria. The latter incessantly synthesize two types of molecules: the toxic protein Barnase which can quickly kill the bacillus, and the Barstar protein which is an antidote to the “killer.”
This couple has long enjoyed the attention of biochemists because their bond is record-strong among most known organic molecules. Thanks to this property the Russian scientists created a universal builder of killer nanoparticles where each component is coupled either with Barnase or Barstar.
The same nanoparticles in this builder become atemplate in such a case which can be attached to a number of different protein markers or other molecules which recognize targets inside the body. What is needed to do this is to align Barnase and Barstar with the future nanoparticle components and to blend their solutions.
Tests showed that nanoparticles can successfully reach hazardous cells without affecting adjacent cultures of healthy cells. Th ebuilder can beused not only incombating cancer but also for delivering gene therapy and also used for treating other diseases caused by defects in certain cells.
“In the future we intend first of all to design therapeutic and diagnostic nanoparticles based on this platform, test the month eappropriate animals and then search for best ways to diagnose and treat cancer,” comments Viktoria Shipunova, the first researcher of the project.