Taking a cue from nature, a group of investigators led by researchers at Houston Methodist say they were able to build a personalized “Trojan horse” nanocarrier that effectively avoided destruction and delivered an anti-inflammatory drug payload right where it was needed.
"Immune cells such as leukocytes freely circulate in blood vessels, recognize inflammation, and accumulate in inflamed tissues,” said Ennio Tasciotti, director of the Center for Biomimetic Medicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute and the paper's senior author. “They do so by using special receptors and ligands on their surface. We purified leukocytes from a patient, then integrated their special ligands and receptors into the leukosome surface. Using the body's own materials, we built a drug delivery system camouflaged as our own body's defense system--thus the Trojan horse.”
To test its effectiveness they created vesicles from mouse leukocytes and loaded them with the well-known anti-inflammatory dexamethasone (DXM).
"We used 'personalized' DXM-loaded leukosomes to treat inflammation in mice," Tasciotti said. "After administering the leukosomes, we observed their attachment to the surface of blood vessels surrounding the inflamed tissue, and they selectively delivered DXM to the affected cells."
And the same biomimetic nanocarriers can be developed to treat other kinds of diseases as well, they add.
"By combining cell biology with nanotechnology, we can create valuable medical tools that work within, and not around, the laws of nature," he said.
- here's the release