Nano Carriers that Deliver Molecules Inside Cells

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Researchers from the University of Miami have created nanoparticles, which, under the right conditions, self–assemble and trap guest molecules within their structure to deliver it to the cells. The research is important from the point of view of the continuing need for very small devices in therapeutic applications.

Although the research isn’t the first of its kind in transporting the molecules inside the cells, this is the first time that the researchers have achieved the delivery and exchange of the complementary molecules. The nanocarriers are supramolecular constructs that are made up of building blocks called amphiphilic polymers. They hold the guest molecules within the confines of their water–insoluble interior and use their water–soluble exterior to travel through an aqueous environment. As a result, these nanovehicles are ideal for transferring molecules across a liquid environment.

Essential to this mechanism are the non–covalent bonds that loosely hold the supramolecular constructs together. These weak bonds exist between the molecules with complementary shapes and electronic properties. They are responsible for the ability of supramolecules to assemble spontaneously in liquid environments. Under the right conditions, the reversibility of these weak non–covalent contacts allows the supramolecular constructs to exchange their components as well as their cargo. Scientists haven’t yet researched on whether the nanoparticles could travel through the bloodstream to achieve the same results.

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