Drugs made of protein have shown promise in treating cancer, but they are difficult to deliver because the body usually breaks down proteins before they reach their destination.
To get around that obstacle, a team of MIT researchers has developed a new type of nanoparticle that can synthesize proteins on demand. Once these “protein-factory” particles reach their targets, the researchers can turn on protein synthesis by shining ultraviolet light on them.
The particles could be used to deliver small proteins that kill cancer cells, and eventually larger proteins such as antibodies that trigger the immune system to destroy tumors, says Avi Schroeder, a postdoc in MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and lead author of a paper appearing in the journal NanoLetters.
MIT researchers designed these particles that can produce proteins when ultraviolet light is shone on them. In this case, the protein is green fluorescent protein.
Image: Avi Schroeder