'Nanolids' keep meds bottled up until ready for release into tumors

Nature Publishing Group's Asia Materials tells us about a new Tupperware-style innovation in nanomedicine--"nanolids" that keep nanoscale drug carriers capped and their contents fresh until they're ready for release inside targeted tumors. The nanolid idea comes from Guangshan Zhu and colleagues from Jilin University in China.

Many materials scientists have sought to exploit the acidic environment inside tumor cells by creating nanocarriers that detect pH levels and release drugs only when inside tumors. However, according to Asia Materials, "previous systems rely on complicated syntheses and are not suitable for intracellular applications." The solution seems simple: Just cap the carriers with acid-decomposable zinc oxide lids.

They tried it out in vitro and observed what happened through an electron microscope and spectroscopic analyses. The four nanometer-wide lids were just large enough to prevent any drug leakage until pH levels reached 5.0. Then they disintegrated and freed doxorubin into the acidic solution.

The scientist will continue developing this, and other nanomixtures as well. "We are also planning to engineer anticancer cocktails to deliver multiple drugs simultaneously according to physiopathological signals," Zhu tells Asia Materials.

- read the story in Asia Materials