An Iranian scientist Omid Farokhzad managed to create a drug delivery system capable of delivering a great amount of chemotherapeutic drugs to prostate cancer cells.
Omid Farokhzad, M.D., Associate Professor
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
The process jointly carried out with researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Iranian scholar in Harvard University is similar to building and equipping a car with the best features to transfer a passenger (in this case the cancer drug) to its destination (in this case the cancer cell).
Researchers have used a method which allowed them to select ligands --molecules that bind to the cell surface--which could target prostate cancer cells, then attached nanoparticles containing chemotherapy medicine to these hand-picked ligands.
To understand Farokhzad's selection method, one must understand ligand conduct. While most ligands mainly have the ability to stick to cells, the strategy of Farokhzad and his colleagues allowed them to select specific ligands that were not only able to stick to prostate cancer cells, but also possessed two other important features one of which is that they were smart enough to distinguish between cancer and non-cancer cells and the second one is that they were designed to be by cancer cells.
Fraokhzad noted "Most ligands are engulfed d by cells, but not efficiently. We designed one that is intended to be engulfed."
The ability to be engulfed for a ligand by a cell is crucial in drug delivery since it enables a significant amount of drug to enter the cancer cell, as opposed to remaining outside on the cell surface.
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