At UC Davis scientists managed to use the hollow shells of Hepatitis E virus as transport vehicles to deliver drugs. The viral shell was selected because the Hepatitis E virus is able to travel through the digestive system without being destroyed, and so would be a good candidate for PO formulations.
The viral shells are made of Hep. E proteins and do not contain any DNA, denying any possibility of viral infection.
The research team tested the particles by applying cysteine amino acids that let molecules called LXY-30 be attached in turn to them. These LXY-30 molecules hone in on breast cancer cells and the researchers showed using a fluorescent marker that the virus-like shells were able to gather right on breast cancer tumors in lab mice.
Some details from the study abstract:
Five surface-exposed residues were mutated to cysteine to allow conjugation to maleimide-linked chemical groups via thiol-selective linkages. Engineered virus-like nanoparticles were then covalently conjugated to a breast cancer recognized ligand, LXY30 and an amine-coupled near-infrared fluorescence dye.
LXY30-HEV VLP was checked for its binding and entry to a breast cancer cell line and for tumor targeting in vivo to breast cancer tissue in mice. The engineered virus-like nanoparticle not only targeted cancer cells, but also appeared immune silent to native hepatitis E virus antibodies due to epitope disruption at the antibody-binding site.
Study in journal Nanomedicine: Chemically activatable viral capsid functionalized for cancer targeting…
Source: UC Davis…