DNAsomes harness double-helix power to deliver drugs

Here's another nanoparticle name to add to the lexicon: DNAsomes. They have been so dubbed by researchers at Cornell who are harnessing the power of DNA not for genetics, but as workhorses for targeted drug delivery. R&D Magazine has the story about Dan Luo and his Cornell colleagues who are using DNA nanoparticles to carry drugs and gene therapy.

Ordinarily, DNA is found in the nucleus of cells and consist of long chain molecules that attach to one another to form the familiar double helix. What Luo does is create short chains of synthetic DNA that attach over only part of their length so they form T shapes or Y shapes. DNAsomes are assembled from the Y shapes, each made up of three strands of DNA. Attach a lipid molecule to the tail of the Y and drugs can be chemically bonded to the arms and delivered. Luo is looking at delivering gene-silencing, or siRNA, drugs using this technique.

"The beauty of this is that the body of the thing is also a body of drugs," Luo tells R&D Magazine, adding that DNAsomes are about the size of a virus and can be taken into a cell in a similar way as a virus. Each DNAsome can be tagged with molecules that target a particular cancer cell, he tells the magazine.

- read the full article in R&D Magazine