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‘Virus-like’ nanoparticle built to target tumours

A self-assembling nanoparticle designed to target tumour cells like a virus was unveiled today.

Viruses are extremely effective at targeting cells and delivering proteins into them. Mimicking a virus should therefore be a very useful way to deliver drugs to cancerous cells.

This morning at the American Chemical Society’s annual fall meeting in Philadelphia, Yuhong Chen presented data on a fully synthetic self-assembling virus-like nanoparticle. These particles fuse with cells “like real viruses” notes Chen’s abstract. Chen, a chemist at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, gave a presentation on these particles before I arrived in the city. But earlier this week his fellow researcher Nadya Tarasova explained some of the thinking behind them.

Tarasova, head of the Synthetic Biologics Core at the National Cancer Institute, notes that viruses are perfect delivery systems because they self assemble and enter cells using receptors on cell surfaces.

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