DNA Cage for Drugs


Cancer Treatment has serious side-effects because drugs, apart from attacking cancerous tissues, also expose non-target tissues to chemicals. To overcome this problem, researchers often look for methods to deliver the drug only to the affected areas. Now, liposomes, artificially prepared structures having lipid bilayers around them, are being tested for this. The therapy uses two sets of liposomes, one containing adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP, or the energy molecule) and the other containing an anti-cancer drug embedded in a complex of DNA. The liposomes target the cancerous cells. Once absorbed into a cancer cell, the liposomes are sealed off from the rest of the cell in a special structure called endosome. In the acidic environment inside the endosome, the two types of liposomes fuse together and with the wall of the endosome. When the DNA molecules come into contact with ATP, they unfold using the energy from ATP and release the drug from its DNA cage in the cell, killing it. 


Down To Earth, June 2014