Drug delivery platform uses sound for targeting #Science #Medicine @Caltech

A pair of Caltech research teams have created an entirely new kind of drug-delivery system, one that they say may finally give doctors the ability to treat cancer in a more targeted way. The system employs drugs that are activated by ultrasound—and only right where they are needed in the body.

The system was developed in the labs of Maxwell Robb and Mikhail Shapiro. In a paper appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers show how they combined elements from each of their specialties to create the platform.

Working collaboratively, the two research teams married gas vesicles (air-filled capsules of protein found in some bacteria) and mechanophores (molecules that undergo a chemical change when subjected to physical force).

As they began researching the combination of mechanophores and ultrasound, they discovered a problem: Ultrasound could activate the mechanophores, but only at an intensity so strong that it also damaged neighboring tissues. What the researchers needed was a way to focus the energy of the ultrasound right where they wanted it. It turned out that Shapiro’s gas vesicle technology provided the solution.

Read more in the article here.


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