APR 24, 2018 09:58 PM PDT

Improving Drug Discovery using Gold Nano-particles

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin
2 4 140

Investigators at University of Lincoln in the UK have developed a new technique using nanotechnology which may deliver drugs with high efficacy. This new technique has allowed scientists to ‘decorate’ gold nanoparticles using a protein of choice. This allows drugs to be tailored to target an area of the body for effective treatment, like a tumor growing on the pancreas.



Gold nanoparticles are tiny spheres made of gold atoms with a diameter of only a few billionths of a meter. They can be covered with a biological protein in combination with other drugs to enable the treatment to travel through the body and reach the affected area. These gold nanoparticles will 'adsorb' (hold on its surface) drugs which may otherwise be insoluble or quickly degradable in the blood, and due to their micro level size they can overcome multiple biological barriers like as skin, the small intestine and membranes which may inhibit the drug from reaching its target.

This unique technology is currently in use for real-world applications, but not common in drug development. For example, in pregnancy tests, gold nanoparticles coated with the antibody against the pregnancy hormone present in the urine will display the 'positive' strip if it reacts with the nanoparticles.

Until recently, ‘decorating’ nanoparticles with biological proteins used to be combined together with other particles which are not capable of controlling where they bind resulting in less drug effectiveness. But with this new method, pharmacologists are able to coat gold nanoparticles with proteins in a layer by layer and specific order organization. This maintains the protein to maximize drug efficacy, giving hope for a future in nanomedicine.


"Gold nanoparticles are a vital tool in new drug development and drug delivery systems. We have unlocked the key to binding proteins and molecules so that those drugs will be more effective,” explains Dr. Enrico Ferrari, a nanobiotechnologist from the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Science, "This method might help to design nanomedicines that do not need extensive chemical modification of a protein drug or a nano-carrier and therefore can be developed more easily and faster." Furthermore, investigators retrieved pieces of proteins isolated from bacteria and flatworms, and then fused those proteins together. It was found that the fusion was effective at binding to the gold nanoparticle surface and able to form stable bonds to any other protein.

Sources: Drug Discovery & Development
 

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
APR 08, 2018
Microbiology
APR 08, 2018
A New Type of Antibiotic has Been Found
This new kind of compound acts in a unique way, and may be effective against drug-resistant bacteria.
MAY 09, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAY 09, 2018
Valuable insights into better protein expression
Pharmaceutical companies, biotech, and academia all have a hand in accelerating our understanding of proteins, whether through wide-ranging proteomics stud
MAY 30, 2018
Drug Discovery
MAY 30, 2018
Non-Diet Therapy For PKU
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare inherited disorder that results an amino acid known as phenylalanine to build up in the body. PKU is caused by a mutation i
JUN 27, 2018
Drug Discovery
JUN 27, 2018
Potential Drug May 'Freeze' Cancer Cells
New research study is bringing hope to cancer patients undergoing the early stages of the disease, published in the journal Nature Communications, the stud
JUL 17, 2018
Drug Discovery
JUL 17, 2018
Hunger Hormones for Addiction Treatment?
Hunger hormones, or gut hormones, work to signal the body's state of hunger and fullness. These hormones could potentially serve as a key new treatment
JUL 21, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
JUL 21, 2018
Designer Cells Sense & Destroy MRSA
Staphylococcus aureus is thought to lead to over 11 million visits to the doctor and the ER every year in the US alone.
Loading Comments...