Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Novel nanotechnology collaboration leads to breakthrough in cancer research

Structure of an adenovirus
Structure of an adenovirus

Abstract:
Researchers clear hurdle on path toward gene-therapy treatment for disease

By Mike Rodewald

Novel nanotechnology collaboration leads to breakthrough in cancer research

Los Angeles, CA | Posted on September 1st, 2010

One of the most difficult aspects of working at the nanoscale is actually seeing the object being worked on. Biological structures like viruses, which are smaller than the wavelength of light, are invisible to standard optical microscopes and difficult to capture in their native form with other imaging techniques.

A multidisciplinary research group at UCLA has now teamed up to not only visualize a virus but to use the results to adapt the virus so that it can deliver medication instead of disease.

In a paper published last week in the journal Science, Hongrong Liu, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, and colleagues reveal an atomically accurate structure of the adenovirus that shows the interactions among its protein networks. The work provides critical structural information for researchers around the world attempting to modify the adenovirus for use in vaccine and gene-therapy treatments for cancer.

To modify a virus for gene therapy, researchers remove its disease-causing DNA, replace it with medications and use the virus shell, which has been optimized by millions of years of evolution, as a delivery vehicle.

Lily Wu, a UCLA professor of molecular and medical pharmacology and co-lead author of the study, and her group have been attempting to manipulate the adenovirus for use in gene therapy, but the lack of information about receptors on the virus's surface had hampered their quest.

"We are engineering viruses to deliver gene therapy for prostate and breast cancers, but previous microscopy techniques were unable to visualize the adapted viruses," Wu said. "This was like trying to a piece together the components of a car in the dark, where the only way to see if you did it correctly was to try and turn the car on."

To better visualize the virus, Wu sought assistance from Hong Zhou, a UCLA professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and the study's other lead author. Zhou uses cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to produce atomically accurate three-dimensional models of biological samples such as viruses.

Wu, who is also a researcher at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA, learned of Zhou's work after he was jointly recruited to UCLA from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston by the UCLA Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and UCLA's CNSI.

About a year ago, once the transfer of Zhou's lab was complete, Sok Boon Koh, one of Wu's students, sought out Zhou's group for their expertise and initiated the collaboration.

"This project exemplifies my excitement about being part of an institute as innovative as CNSI," Zhou said. "Not only am I able to work with state-of-the-art equipment, but because CNSI is the hub for nanotechnology research and commercialization at UCLA, I have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across many disciplines."

Working in the Electron Imaging Center for Nanomachines at the CNSI, a lab run by Zhou, the researchers used cryoEM to create a 3-D reconstruction of the human adenovirus from 31,815 individual particle images.

"Because the reconstruction reveals details up to a resolution of 3.6 angstroms, we are able to build an atomic model of the entire virus, showing precisely how the viral proteins all fit together and interact," Zhou said. An angstrom is the distance between the two hydrogen atoms in a water molecule, and the entire adenovirus is about 920 angstroms in diameter.

Armed with this new understanding, Wu and her group are now moving forward with their engineered versions of adenovirus to use for gene therapy treatment of cancer.

"This breakthrough is a great leap forward, but there are still many obstacles to overcome," Wu said. "If our work is successful, this therapy could be used to treat most forms of cancer, but our initial efforts have focused on prostate and breast cancers because those are the two most common forms of cancer in men and women, respectively."

The group is working with the adenovirus because previous research has established it as a good candidate for gene therapy due to its efficiency in delivering genetic materials inside the body. The virus shell is also a safe delivery vehicle; tests have shown that the shell does not cause cancer, a problem encountered with some other virus shells. The adenovirus is relatively non-pathogenic naturally, causing only temporary respiratory illness in 5 to 10 percent of people.

CryoEM enables such a high-resolution reconstruction of biological structures because samples, in water, are imaged directly. In contrast, with X-ray crystallography (the conventional technique for atomic resolution models of biological structures), researchers grow crystal structures replicating the sample and then use diffraction to solve the crystal structure. This technique is limited because it is difficult to grow crystals for all proteins, samples for x-ray crystallography need to be very pure and uniform, and crystals of large complexes may not diffract to high resolution. These limitations resulted in critical areas of the adenovirus surface being unresolved using x-ray crystallography.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Defense.

####

About California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA
California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA is an integrated research center operating jointly at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara whose mission is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations for discoveries in nanosystems and nanotechnology; train the next generation of scientists, educators and technology leaders; and facilitate partnerships with industry, fueling economic development and the social well-being of California, the United States and the world. The CNSI was established in 2000 with $100 million from the state of California and an additional $250 million in federal research grants and industry funding. At the institute, scientists in the areas of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, computational science and engineering are measuring, modifying and manipulating the building blocks of our world — atoms and molecules. These scientists benefit from an integrated laboratory culture enabling them to conduct dynamic research at the nanoscale, leading to significant breakthroughs in the areas of health, energy, the environment and information technology.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contacts
Jennifer Marcus,
310-267-4839


Mike Rodewald,
310-267-5883

Copyright © California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

The laser pulse that gets shorter all by itself: Ultrashort laser pulses have become an indispensable tool for atomic and molecular research; A new technology makes creating short infrared pulses easy and cheap January 27th, 2015

New pathway to valleytronics January 27th, 2015

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal January 27th, 2015

Entanglement on a chip: Breakthrough promises secure communications and faster computers January 27th, 2015

Possible Futures

GS7 Graphene Sensor maybe Solution in Fight Against Cancer January 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Energy Applications Market Research Report 2014-2018: Radiant Insights, Inc January 15th, 2015

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials December 23rd, 2014

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Academic/Education

Rice's Naomi Halas to direct Smalley Institute: Optics pioneer will lead Rice's multidisciplinary science institute January 15th, 2015

SUNY Board Appoints Dr. Alain Kaloyeros as Founding President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute January 13th, 2015

CNSE's Smart System Technology & Commercialization Center Successfully Recertifies as ISO 9001:2008 January 12th, 2015

SUNY Poly Now Accepting Applications to the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for Fall 2015: Full Scholarships Available to Incoming CNSE Students January 7th, 2015

Nanomedicine

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal January 27th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Promising use of nanodiamonds in delivering cancer drug to kill cancer stem cells: NUS study shows that delivery of Epirubicin by nanodiamonds resulted in a normally lethal dosage of Epirubicin becoming a safe and effective dosage for treatment of liver cancer January 26th, 2015

Teijin to Participate in Nano Tech 2015 January 22nd, 2015

Announcements

The laser pulse that gets shorter all by itself: Ultrashort laser pulses have become an indispensable tool for atomic and molecular research; A new technology makes creating short infrared pulses easy and cheap January 27th, 2015

New pathway to valleytronics January 27th, 2015

Entanglement on a chip: Breakthrough promises secure communications and faster computers January 27th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Nanoshuttle wear and tear: It's the mileage, not the age January 26th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

DNA 'glue' could someday be used to build tissues, organs January 14th, 2015

Photonic crystal nanolaser biosensor simplifies DNA detection: New device offers a simpler and potentially less expensive way to detect DNA and other biomolecules through changes in surface charge density or solution pH January 13th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE