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Triggered Release of Drugs Using Nanoparticles


Press Release Date: January 19, 2015


With nanotechnology allowing for the controlled manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules, a new study by researchers in the U.K shows how it could be used in the development of a drug delivery system featuring a precisely triggered release mechanism.


The researchers who conducted the study described this new "triggered-release" mechanism in the peer reviewed journal, Nature Communications. This binary mechanism involves the use of two so called “parent" nanoparticles, each of which carries one half of the medication. These parent particles are designed to become active only when they are in close proximity to each other, in a targeted region like within a cell's walls. Once these parent particles do interact, a "daughter" particle is created which then releases the combined and now active drug.


One of the senior researchers involved in the study and a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick, Dr. Andrew Dove believes that the parent particles whilst traveling in the blood stream would be unable to interact at a level that would cause release, with this being possible only once they are within cells. In this manner drugs can be effectively targeted and therefore be more effective as well as reducing side effects. The triggered release mechanism does not rely on any external stimulus to become active and release the drug being carried.


Essentially once both parent nanoparticles are in sufficient proximity to each other, their two polymer chain structures undergo a process known as stereocomplexation which results in a new "daughter" particle being formed. During this process the binary drug molecules being carried by the parent particles are released to combine with each other. The research team is now looking at ways in which their triggered-release mechanism could be used in the development of new cancer treatments as well as in a range of treatments for other diseases.


“The University of Warwick research team have taken us into exciting new territory regarding the use of binary drug solutions in a wide range of treatment scenarios. While presently we have a good understanding of targeted delivery within cell walls, this work has in effect given an answer as how to best fuse the delivery system for releasing its carried payload of medications,” explained ESNano Tech’s Chief Scientific Officer. Prof. David Radcliff.


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