Nanofibers and filaments for enhanced drug delivery

Drug Delivery
Drugs are transported from their site of introduction to their molecular site of action after rapid filtration in the kidney and mix in the bloodstream and travel to target cells within tissues. At the tissue or cellular target, the drug must cross the plasma membrane, harsh environment within the cell and the multiple drug resistance mechanisms that pathological cells can develop. But nanomaterials are promising as drug or vaccine carriers to assist in navigating these barriers.
Drug delivery vehicles
Most of the nanoparticles based drug delivery vehicles are spheres, but cylindrical nanoparticles can survive for a long period in the blood stream to reach their intended target and penetrate the cell wall and deliver therapeutic payload where it is needed. North-western CCNE have developed self-assembling nanofibers that takes care of this requirement.
Cylindrical vehicles
To create tumor-inhibiting cylinders the researchers immersed peptide amphiphiles made using automated peptide synthesizers to make them spontaneously self-assembled into long thin filaments. These filaments display a variety of biologically active peptides on their surfaces which can serve as both drugs and drug deliver agents simultaneously without the need to further encapsulate anticancer agents within the nanostructure.
A peptide amphiphile linked to polyethylene glycol (PEG) is used to increase the survival of nanoparticles in the blood stream. When the peptide amphiphile is mixed with the PEGylated amphiphile, the two molecules together self-assemble into nanofilaments. The nanofiber can survive degradation by the enzyme trypsin.
Protein based nanofilament
Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of early death worldwide; weak cartilage causes osteoarthritis; diabetes people face innumerable complications, wherein blocked blood vessels raise risks of limb amputations and heart attacks. Advanced regenerative medical methods can promote cell growth and repair the damage caused by these diseases. This nanofilament contains tiny bits of protein that stick together instantly. Researchers fixed signalling substances to these fibers that imitate VEGF which is a strong substance that can help in formation new blood vessels.
Noodle-like gel nanofibers
In another research, the scientists created noodle gels, which are nanofibers that produce noodle-like gels when heated, cooled and squeezed from a pipette into salty water. They are promising in delivery of biological signals, proteins and stem cells to accurately target the injured parts of the brain, heart, spinal cord and other organs. Noodle gels can also guide cells to a particular location where repair is required. In the future nanofibers and gels will improve the quality of life for people suffering from medical conditions or injuries.


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