A team of European researchers has developed technology of transporting and releasing therapeutic proteins into the cellular cytoplasm. The technique relies on inclusion bodies that are produced within recombinant bacteria.
Because they are fully biocompatible and can be engineered to carry specific functional proteins, the so-called “nanopills” may turn out to be effective delivery vehicles for future therapies.
From the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona:
UAB researchers developed a new vehicle to release proteins with therapeutic effects. This is known as “bacteria-inclusion bodies”, stable insoluble nanoparticles which normally are found in recombinant bacteria. Even though these inclusion bodies traditionally have been an obstacle in the industrial production of soluble enzymes and biodrugs, they were recently recognised [sic] as having large amounts of functional proteins with direct values in industrial and biomedical applications.
The research team led by Antoni Vallverde from the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (IBB) at UAB worked in collaboration with the Online Biomedical Research Centre for Bioengineering, Biomaterials, and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) to verify the value of these nanoparticles as natural “nanopills” with a strong capacity to penetrate cells and carry out biological activities. The nanopill concept represents a new and promising platform for drug administration and illustrates the yet to be explored power of microbian materials in medicine.
The researchers, in a multidisciplinary study at UAB led by Dr Esther Vàzquez, packaged four proteins containing different therapeutic effects into experimental nanopills, the inclusion bodies of the bacteria Escherichia coli. They put the bacteria in contact with cell cultures of mammals under similar conditions to those found in real clinical pathologies, “sick” cells with low viability, and achieved to recover their activity.
Press statement: Nanopills release drugs directly from the inside of the cells…
Abstract in Advanced Materials: Functional Inclusion Bodies Produced in Bacteria as Naturally Occurring Nanopills for Advanced Cell Therapies