A new approach to designing anti-cancer drugs, developed by researchers at two North Carolina universities, shows just how complex the products of the rapidly emerging field of engineered drug therapies can be.
The nano particle they created is essentially a tiny machine that performs a sequence of tasks in a preset, specific order to overcome cancer cells. It persuades a cancer cell to latch onto it, and then it uses first one method, then another to kill the cells.
\“They are programmed almost like a computer so that they tackle the problem step by step,” said Zhen Gu, senior author of a paper on the research and an assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The particle isn't exactly a drug itself. Tianyue Jiang, a lead author of the paper who works in Gu's lab, calls it a “drug delivery vehicle”.