Potential New Drug Transportation System
By Alex Contreras
Researchers have developed a new drug transportation system that has promising benefits for fighting cancer. Cancer is diagnosed in 39.7% of men and 37.6% of women. Nanotechnology is the development of incredibly small technologies that can be applied across many different sciences. Therefore, nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology. Scientists have been creating sub-micron structures (nanoparticles) with RNA molecules. Some of these structures are triangles, squares, pentagons, and hexagons. The idea is that these shapes will be able to carry drugs (such as Cisplatin) and have specific interactions with specific cells. This can allow for a more direct attack towards cancerous cells.
RNA, ribonucleic acid, is a molecule that is essential for life. It carries information from DNA used for the synthesis of vital proteins. These molecules are then computationally generated and made into shapes. Doing this allows scientists to see the characteristics of certain structures in an easy-to-use program. After careful planning, one can create these structures experimentally.
This research is relatively new so there is not much complexity to these shapes yet. However, as seen on the image shown on the left, there are many different shapes that scientists can create using the molecules. The shapes react differently among different types of cells. One benefit of this new targeted drug delivery method is to minimize the side-effects of drugs. Research has many potential benefits to the world of medicine, and is one step closer to finding the best solution for cancer.
Besides shape, another characteristic is size. As seen in the image to the right, various sizes can be achieved by using longer chains of RNA. This allows for more drugs to fit inside and different reactivity effects.
There are already many nanotechnology-based drugs out on the market today. For example, Abraxane, which is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Nano-medicine is cutting edge technology that is being improved every day.