In the News

All the new interesting studies relating to the research underway in the Polymer Therapeutics Lab!

New gene delivery vehicle shows promise for human brain gene therapy

A scientific image showing vasculature and RNA in humanized mouse brain tissue.

Scientists have engineered an adeno-associated virus (AAV) that efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier in human cell models and delivers genes throughout the brain in humanized mice. See Science Advances for more!

Nanomaterial that mimics proteins could be basis for new neurodegenerative disease treatments

A man and a woman in blue lab coats look at an image on a screen in a laboratory.

A newly developed nanomaterial that mimics the behavior of proteins could be an effective tool for treating Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The nanomaterial alters the interaction between two key proteins in brain cells — with a potentially powerful therapeutic effect.

The innovative findings, recently published in the journal Advanced Materials, were made possible thanks to a collaboration between University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists and nanomaterial engineers at Northwestern University.

GPS nanoparticle platform precisely delivers therapeutic payload to cancer cells

Equipped with novel homing abilities, the platform activates in cancer environments to release gene-editing tools

Mirror-image molecules separated using workhorse of chemistry

Two forms of thalidomide. Molecular models of the S- (left) and R- (right) forms of the drug thalidomide.

The ability to distinguish between left- and right-handed molecules using mass spectrometry could streamline a laborious part of drug discovery. See the article at Science.

Bioengineers on the brink of breaching blood-brain barrier

Fluorescence microscopy image showing LNPs delivering mCherry mRNA to brain endothelial cells.

A team of researchers in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has devised a method to deliver mRNA into the brain using lipid nanoparticles, potentially advancing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and seizures.

Could Two Drugs Be Better Than One for Treating Prostate Cancer?

A middle aged man clasps his hands as he listens to a clinician, who is holding a notepad and pen.
UCSF-led clinical trial shows improved benefit of combination drug therapy without worse side effects.

Metastatic breast cancer treatments have aided decline in deaths, Stanford Medicine-led study finds

breast cancer

Treatment of metastatic disease is responsible for nearly one-third of the decrease in annual deaths from breast cancer from 1975 to 2019, according to a Stanford Medicine-led study.

Intracerebral fate of engineered nanoparticles

Organic and inorganic nanoparticles have different clearance mechanisms from the brain resulting in different biological fates and retention times.

See Nature Nanotechnology News and Views and the original article at Nature Nanotechnology.

Large language models direct automated chemistry laboratory

Automation of chemistry research has focused on developing robots to execute jobs. Artificial-intelligence technology has now been used not only to control robots, but also to plan their tasks on the basis of simple human prompts.

See Nature News and Views and the original article at Nature.

Spinning up control: Propeller shape helps direct nanoparticles, researchers say

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Self-propelled nanoparticles could potentially advance drug delivery and lab-on-a-chip systems — but they are prone to go rogue with random, directionless movements. Now, an international team of researchers has developed an approach to rein in the synthetic particles.

Google AI and robots join forces to build new materials

A robotic arm in a lab in creates a new material guided by artificial intelligence.

An autonomous system that combines robotics with artificial intelligence (AI) to create entirely new materials has released its first trove of discoveries. The system, known as the A-Lab, devises recipes for materials, including some that might find uses in batteries or solar cells. Then, it carries out the synthesis and analyses the products — all without human intervention. Meanwhile, another AI system has predicted the existence of hundreds of thousands of stable materials, giving the A-Lab plenty of candidates to strive for in future.

New platform solves key problems in targeted drug delivery

Now, Northwestern University synthetic biologists have developed a flexible new platform that solves part of this daunting delivery problem. Mimicking natural processes used by viruses, the delivery system binds to target cells and effectively transfers drugs inside.

Drug-filled nanocapsule helps make immunotherapy more effective in mice


UCLA researchers have developed a new treatment method using a tiny nanocapsule to help boost the immune response, making it easier for the immune system to fight and kill solid tumors.

The investigators found the approach, described in the journal Science Translational Medicine, increased the number and activity of immune cells that attack the cancer, making cancer immunotherapies work better.

New 3D-printed tumour model enables faster, less expensive and less painful cancer treatment

An international team of interdisciplinary researchers has successfully created a method for better 3D modelling of complex cancers.

The University of Waterloo-based team combined cutting-edge bioprinting techniques with synthetic structures or microfluidic chips. The method will help lab researchers more accurately understand heterogeneous tumours: tumours with more than one kind of cancer cell, often dispersed in unpredictable patterns.

Scientists reverse drug resistance in prostate cancer by targeting ‘hijacked’ white blood cells

Scanning electron micrograph of a single prostate cancer cell

Prostate cancer’s resistance to treatment can be reversed in some patients by stopping hijacked white blood cells from being ‘pulled into’ tumours, according to new research published in Nature.

In an early clinical trial, researchers showed that blocking the messages cancer uses to hijack white blood cells can resensitise a subset of advanced prostate cancers to treatment – shrinking tumours or halting their growth.

New drug delivery system developed by Brown engineers has potential to improve cancer treatments

The hydrogel is designed to balance pH levels in a malignant tumor and act as a delivery system for one of the most effective cancer fighting drugs, potentially addressing critical problems faced in current cancer treatment.

Research identifies new potential hurdle for nano-based therapies

Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that certain nano-based cancer therapies may be less effective in younger patients, highlighting the need for further investigation into the impact of aging on the body’s ability to respond to treatment.

The researchers found age-related differences are due to how effectively the liver filters the bloodstream. Younger livers are more efficient at this process, which helps limit toxins in the blood but also filters out beneficial treatments, potentially rendering them ineffective.

Microdevices Implanted into Tumors Offer New Way to Treat Brain Cancer

The shape and size of a grain of rice, the new device can conduct dozens of experiments at once to study the effects of new treatments on some of the hardest-to-treat brain cancers

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, have designed a device that can help test treatments in patients with gliomas, a type of tumor that originates in the brain or spinal cord. The device, which is designed to be used during standard care of surgery, provides unprecedented insight into the effects of drugs on glioma tumors and caused no adverse effects on patients in a phase 1 clinical trial. Results from the pilot clinical trial for the device are published in Science Translational Medicine.

A new chemical process makes it easier to craft amino acids that don’t exist in nature

Every protein in your body is made up of the same 20 building blocks called amino acids. But just because nature is stuck with a limited toolkit doesn’t mean humans can’t expand it.

A study published in Science on July 27 by a team including Pitt chemists describes a powerful new way to create “unnatural” amino acids, which could find use in protein-based therapies and open up novel branches of organic chemistry.

Site selectivity steps in

The concepts of multistep processes and regioselectivity — fundamental in covalent synthesis — have now been applied to the non-covalent synthesis of sequence-controlled multiblock supramolecular polymers. See more News & Views and the original paper.

‘Clicked’ drugs: researchers prove the remarkable chemistry in humans

Bioorthogonal click chemistry is being used in patients to help target cancer medicines and diagnostic imaging agents. See more at Nature Biotechnology.

Scientists Design a Nanoparticle That May Improve mRNA Cancer Vaccines

Tests in mice with melanoma and colon cancer show tiny particle creates an “army” of immune cells that carry vaccine’s instructions, researchers say. For more, see John Hopkin’s Medicine and PNAS.

Researchers show how a tumor cell’s location and environment affect its identity

Microscopic image of dyed cells in a tumor model

New approach could provide insights into cancer progression and treatment response, leading to more precise therapies. See more at the NIH and Cell Systems.

Biodegradable Ultrasound Opens the Blood-Brain Barrier

Nanofibers of glycine spun with polycaprolactone (PCL).

Anew, biodegradable ultrasound far more powerful than previous devices could make brain cancers more treatable, University of Connecticut researchers report in Science Advances.

New method enables study of nano-sized particles

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have created a new method of studying the smallest bioparticles in the body. The study, which is published in Nature Biotechnology, has considerable scientific potential, such as in the development of more effective vaccines.

Researchers discover that various species share a similar mechanism of molecular response to nanoparticles

Researchers discovered that various species share a similar mechanism of molecular response to nanoparticles

Researchers at FHAIVE (Finnish Hub for Development and Validation of Integrated Approaches), Tampere University, have discovered a new response mechanism specific to exposure to nanoparticles that is common to multiple species.

By analyzing a large collection of datasets concerning the molecular response to nanomaterials, Doctoral Researcher Giusy del Giudice has revealed an ancestral epigenetic mechanism of defense that explains how different species, from humans to simpler creatures, adapt over time to this type of exposure.

Read more here –