Nanofactories can synthesize drugs within the body

Instead of quibbling with traditional drug delivery, a group of researchers has found a work-around to getting protein-based drugs to infected tissues. They've developed nano-scale "factories," tiny particles capable of synthesizing drugs in the bloodstream.

As ScienceDaily explains, the particles are replete with the necessary DNA and biological machinery to manufacture protein-based treatments, and the researchers designed them to respond to externally applied laser light. Once hit with the light, the particles get to work, synthesizing treatments and delivering them to their targeted tissues.

The method proved effective in tests on mice, and when not blasted with light, the particles sit dormant and safe within the body, the researchers said. If they can push forward and prove the platform's effectiveness in humans, the researchers say their method could revolutionize how physicians administer drugs that are too toxic for oral dosing or injection. 

In the past, researchers have used a similar method with live bacteria that can produce protein for infected tissues, but the nanoparticle method allows for customization and targeting that would be impossible with bacteria, ScienceDaily points out. 

- read the ScienceDaily story
- here's The Escapist's take