- About Us
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
The ability of some forms of plankton and bacteria to build an extra natural layer of nanoparticle-like armour has inspired chemists at the University of Warwick to devise a startlingly simple way to give drug bearing polymer vesicles (microscopic polymer based sacs of liquid) their own armoured protection.
The Warwick researchers have been able to decorate these hollow structures with a variety of nanoparticles opening a new strategy in the design of vehicles for drug release, for example by giving the vesicle "stealth" capabilities which can avoid the body's defences while releasing the drug.
Advances in polymerisation have led to a surge in the creation of vesicles made from polymer molecules. Such vesicles have interesting chemical and physical properties which makes these hollow structures potential drug delivery vehicles.
The University of Warwick team were convinced that even more strength, and interesting tailored properties, could be given to the vesicles if they could add an additional layer of colloidal armour made from a variety of nanoparticles.
Lead researcher on the University of Warwick team Associate Professor Stefan Bon said:
"We took our inspiration from nature, in how it adds protection and mechanical strength in certain classes of cells and organisms. In addition to the mechanical strength provided by the cytoskeleton of the cell, plants, fungi, and certain bacteria have an additional cell wall as outermost boundary. Organisms that particularly attracted our interest were those with a cell wall composed of an armour of colloidal objects - for instance bacteria coated with S-layer proteins, or phytoplankton, such as the coccolithophorids, which have their own CaCO3-based nano-patterned colloidal armour"
The Warwick researchers hit on a surprisingly simple and highly effective method of adding a range of different types of additional armour to the polymer based vesicles. One of those armour types was a highly regular packed layer of microscopic polystyrene balls. This configuration meant the researchers could design a vesicle which had an additional and precise permeable reinforced barrier for drug release, as a result of the crystalline-like ordered structure of the polystyrene balls.
The researchers also succeeded in using the same technique to add a gelatine-like polymer to provide a "stealth" armour to shield vesicles from unwanted attention from the body's immune system while it slowly released its drug treatment. This particular coating (a poly((ethyl acrylate)-co-(methacrylic acid)) hydrogel) absorbs so much surrounding water into its outer structure that it may be able to fool the body's defence mechanism into believing it is in fact just water.
The Warwick researchers had the idea of simply giving their chosen colloidal particles, or latex, based armour the opposite charge to that of the polymer vesicles, to bind them together. This turned out to be even more effective and easy to manipulate and tailor than they even they had hoped for. However the researchers needed a new way of actually observing the vesicles to see if their plan had worked. Previous observational methods required researchers to dry out the vesicles before examining then under an electron microscope - but this seriously deformed the vesicles and thus provide little useful data. However the University of Warwick had recently acquired a cryo electron microscope thanks to funding from the Science City programme. This allowed the research team to quickly freeze the vesicles to -150oc preserving the vesicles shape before observation by the electron microscope. This revealed that the researchers' simple charge based method had worked exactly as planned.
The research has just been published in a paper entitled Polymer Vesicles with a Colloidal Armor of Nanoparticles by Rong Chen, Daniel J. G. Pearce, Sara Fortuna, David L. Cheung, and Stefan A. F. Bon* Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick in the current Journal of the American Chemical Society dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja110359f
For more information, please click here
Dr.ir. Stefan A. F. Bon
Department of Chemistry
University of Warwick, CV4 7AL, UK
Tel: (+44) (0)24 76 574009
Head of Communications,
University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom
Tel: (+44) (0)24 7652 3708
Mobile: (+44) (0)7767 655860
Copyright © University of WarwickIf 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.
|Related News Press|
News and information
ATTOPSEMI Technology Joins FDXcelerator Program to Deliver Advanced Non-Volatile Memory IP to GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22 FDX® Technology Platform: Leading-edge I-fuse™ brings higher reliability, smaller cell size and ease of programmability for consumer, automotive, and IoT applications March 27th, 2017
AIM Photonics Welcomes Coventor as Newest Member: US-Backed Initiative Taps Process Modeling Specialist to Enable Manufacturing of High-Yield, High-Performance Integrated Photonic Designs March 16th, 2017
Oxford Nanoimaging report on how the Nanoimager, a desktop microscope delivering single molecule, super-resolution performance, is being applied at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection November 22nd, 2016