Breakthrough Nanorod Tech Could Deliver Gene Therapy Directly to Cancer Cells
A new method efficiently transfers genes into cells, then activates them with light. This could lead to gene therapies for cancers
Mineko Kengaku, Tatsuya Murakami, and their colleagues from Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) have developed a new method that modifies the surface of nanorods, making them more efficient in transporting cancer-killing genes into cells.
The method involves coating gold nanorods, which produce heat when exposed to a near-infrared laser, with the lipids oleate and DOTAP. The lipids enhance the nanorods' ability to interact with and penetrate cells.
The team also developed a gene carrier, known as a plasmid vector, which includes a ‘heat shock protein’ that is activated in response to heat.
First, the vector was bound to the ‘enhanced green fluorescent protein’ (EGFP) gene, and then transferred into mammalian cells by the lipid-coated gold nanorods. Exposing cells to near-infrared laser for ten seconds heated up the gold nanorods, turning on the EGFP gene. Surrounding, non-targeted cells showed little to no EGFP expression.
A protein called TRAIL was then added to the plasmid vector. TRAIL induces cell death in cancer cell lines. Infrared illumination of cells transfected by TRAIL-carrying nanorods led to a high cell death rate in surrounding cancer cells.
The lipid-coated gold nanorods could potentially help with molecular cancer therapies.
This new system “provides a unique opportunity for site-directed, light-inducible transgene expression in mammalian cells by a near-infrared laser, with minimal phototoxicity,” conclude the researchers in their study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Nakatsuji, H., Kawabata, G. K., Kurisu, J., Imahori, H., Murakami, T., & Kengaku, M. (2017). Surface chemistry for cytosolic gene delivery and photothermal transgene expression by gold nanorods. Scientific reports, 7(1), 4694.
Quotient Sciences Acquires Pharmaterials, a UK-based Contract Development and Manufacturing OrganizationNews
Quotient Sciences, the drug development services organization, announces it has acquired Pharmaterials, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) based in Reading, U.K..READ MORE
Researchers Discover Mutation That Appears to Protect Against Multiple Aspects of Biological AgingNews
The first genetic mutation that appears to protect against multiple aspects of biological aging in humans has been discovered in an extended family of Old Order Amish living in the vicinity of Berne, Indiana, report Northwestern Medicine scientists.READ MORE
Higher Diabetes Rates in Minorities May be Driven By Environmental PollutantsNews
Unequal exposure to environmental pollutants acting as endocrine-disrupting chemicals is an under-recognized risk factor that may play a key role in driving the higher rates of diabetes among minority and low-income populations.READ MORE