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Dr. Zhen Gu’s lab once again was mentioned in the press, this time for the exciting work they’re doing with the administration of chemotherapy drugs. Science Daily and News & Observer both featured research coming from the Gu Group this week. Particularly, Dr. Gu and his lab have developed a nanoparticle that releases two different cancer-killing drugs to target different areas of cancer cells. Dr. Gu explained that their technique “resulted in a significant improvement in breast cancer reduction as compared to conventional treatment techniques.” Receptors on the membrane of the cancer cell effectively “grab” the outer shell of the nanoparticle, which is made of halyuronic acid (HA) and TRAIL (a protein drug). When enzymes in the cancer cell environment break down the HA, the TRAIL is released onto the membrane, where it is effective in triggering cell death. The breakdown of the outer nanoparticle shell also releases its core. The core is comprised of doxorubicin (Dox) embedded with peptides, which the cancer cell breaks down. The nanoparticle then releases the Dox into the cell where it triggers cell death in the nucleus. This complex drug delivery system using a programmed strategy attempts to create a more local and targeted method of chemotherapy administration. While their work is the first proof of concept, the lab hopes that the treatment can be scaled up for a much larger scale. BME congratulates Dr. Gu and his lab on their continued presence in the press!

See the articles in Science Daily and News & Observer for more information, or read the paper, “Gel-Liposome-Mediated Co-Delivery of Anticancer Membrane-Associated Proteins and Small-Molecule Drugs for Enhanced Therapeutic Efficacy” published in Advanced Functional Materials.

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