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December 1st, 2004

Molecular mail-bags

When cells need to wrap a molecule for safe delivery elsewhere, they use a lipid vesicle or liposome. The building block for a liposome is a lipid bilayer which has folded back on itself to create a closed spherical shell. Liposomes are relatively easy and cheap to make synthetically, and they already find applications in drug delivery systems and expensive cosmetics. But liposomes are delicate - their walls are as thin and insubstantial as a soap bubble, and a much more robust product is obtained if the lipids are replaced by block copolymers - these tough molecular bags are known as polymersomes.


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