STRAIGHT TO CANCER CELLS

DNA-based drug de­liv­ery sys­tem to ac­cu­rately tar­get cancer cells

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CANCER TREAT­MENT has se­ri­ous side-ef­fects be­cause drugs, apart from at­tack­ing can­cer­ous tis­sues, also ex­pose non-tar­get tis­sues to chem­i­cals. To over­come this prob­lem, re­searchers of­ten look for meth­ods to deliver the drug only to the af­fected ar­eas. Now, li­po­somes, ar­ti­fi­cially pre­pared struc­tures hav­ing lipid bi­lay­ers around them, are be­ing tested for this. The ther­apy uses two sets of li­po­somes, one con­tain­ing adeno­sine-5-triphos­phate (ATP, or the en­ergy mol­e­cule) and the other con­tain­ing an anti-cancer drug em­bed­ded in a com­plex of DNA. The li­po­somes tar­get the can­cer­ous cells. Once ab­sorbed into a cancer cell, the li­po­somes are sealed off from the rest of the cell in a spe­cial struc­ture called en­do­some. In the acidic en­vi­ron­ment in­side the en­do­some, the two types of li­po­somes fuse to­gether and with the wall of the en­do­some. When the DNA mol­e­cules come into con­tact with ATP, they un­fold us­ing the en­ergy from ATP and re­lease the drug from its DNA cage in the cell, killing it. Ange­wandte Chemie, April 24

Cancer drug in DNA­com­plex

Nu­cleus

En­do­some

Li­po­some

En­do­some

ATP

En­do­some

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