Posted on Oct 11, 2012, 6 a.m.
Researchers have designed and created a membrane-bounded vesicle formed entirely of peptides that someday may serve as a new drug delivery system to safely treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Kansas State University (Kansas, USA) researchers have discovered a molecule that may be capable of delivering drugs inside the body to treat diseases. John M Tomich and colleagues have designed and created a membrane-bounded vesicle formed entirely of peptides -- molecules made up of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The membrane could serve as a new drug delivery system to safely treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The peptides are a set of self-assembling branched molecules made up of naturally occurring amino acids. The chemical properties of a peptide create a vesicle that is comprised of a thin membrane and is hollow inside. Created in a water solution, the bubble is filled with water rather than air. The peptides -- or bubbles -- can be made in a solution containing a drug or other molecule that becomes encapsulated as the peptide assembles, yielding a trapped compound, much like a gelatin capsule holds over-the-counter oral remedies. The peptide vesicles could be delivered to appropriate cells in the body to treat diseases and minimize potential side effects.
Sushanth Gudlur, Pinakin Sukthankar, Jian Gao, L. Adriana Avila, Yasuaki Hiromasa, John M Tomich, et al. “Peptide Nanovesicles Formed by the Self-Assembly of Branched Amphiphilic Peptides.” PLoS ONE: 18 Sep 2012.