When nature calls, some drug designers listen

It's been called biomimetics or "bioinspired design," but by any other name it's imitation of nature to come up with the best drug-delivery methods. After all, a few billion years of evolution can't be wrong, right? Virgil Percec, speaking at the Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture at the American Chemical Society Expo, touted nature as the best designer. "Nature has found simple, elegant, sustainable solutions to some of our most daunting problems," he said. In his own lab, Percec and colleagues are designing what he calls dendrimersomes--nanosized packets shaped like bubbles, tubes and disks that he says are ideally suited to deliver drugs, genes and medical imaging agents. They are so similar to natural cell membranes that they are highly compatible with the body's own cells, he said. Read more