Tiny 'backpacks' could help deliver drugs

Researchers at MIT have developed synthetic patches that can attach to cells and be used to deliver drugs to a target area in the body. Such technology has a number of applications. For instance, the tiny 'backpacks' could administer chemotherapy to tumor cells, or be used to carry imaging agents that help identify tumors. Additionally, researchers say the patches could assist with tissue engineer, taking the place of tissue scaffolds. These backpacks latch on to a small part of the cell's wall and don't interfere with its function, which allows it to continue interacting with its external environment.

"The idea is that we use cells as vectors to carry materials to tumors, infection sites or other tissue sites," said Darrell Irvine, an author of the paper and associate professor of materials science and engineering and biological engineering.

- see the report from MIT