Peptide bubble shuttles drugs around the body

Tiny bubbles of peptides could safely deliver drugs and genes around the body, according to research at Kansas State University, with potential to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

The naturally occurring peptides assemble themselves into tiny, hollow spheres, trapping inside a drop of liquid carrying drugs, including antibodies, toxins and inhibitors. The system could also be used to deliver genes for gene therapy, rather than using viruses that can trigger an immune response or even cancer, or liposomes that can cause inflammation.

The spheres are quicker and easier to create than liposomes, are more stable and last longer and can be targeted using molecules attached to their surfaces.

"We see this as a new way to deliver any kind of molecule to cells," John Tomich of Kansas State University said. "We don't even begin to know all of the potential applications for this discovery," he said. "We envision that many products could be packaged and delivered using these peptides."

- read the press release
- see the abstract