'Plug-and-play' nanoparticles could simplify targeting biological mechanisms

April 21, 2024

UC San Diego researchers have created customizable nanoparticles for targeting tumors, viruses, or toxins. These nanoparticles have engineered surfaces capable of hosting biological molecules, allowing for tailored applications like drug delivery or neutralizing harmful agents. Unlike previous methods, which required separate nanoparticle synthesis for each target, this new technique uses a modular base that can be easily modified by attaching proteins specific to the desired target. 

The technology, described in a paper supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and published in Nature Nanotechnology, employs biodegradable polymer cores coated with genetically modified cell membranes. It utilizes synthetic proteins, SpyCatcher and SpyTag, to facilitate easy binding of target-specific proteins onto the nanoparticle surface. 

Lead researcher Liangfang Zhang describes it as a "plug-and-play" platform for rapid customization of functional biological nanoparticles.

SOURCE: https://new.nsf.gov/news/plug-play-nanoparticles-could-make-it-easier