Plasmonic Nanoparticles for Protein Drug Delivery
In recent years there has been a rising interest in using proteins for drug therapy. In comparison to small molecule drugs (such as aspirin) which elicit a response when bound to a receptor and may have broad therapeutic activity, protein drugs show promise for highly selective activity due to the specificity for its target. Unfortunately, the promise for using protein drugs is limited by its metabolic vulnerability and difficulty to deliver them across biological membranes. The research conducted in the Reich lab seeks to improve the transportation and stability of protein drugs by combining them with a nanoparticle delivery platform.
Successful drug carriers require the ability to stabilize the protein from degradation without losing its functionality and the ability to control the release in the designated target. To satisfy the criteria we are utilizing nanoparticles that are sensitive to laser radiation in the near infrared region. Upon attachment to the nanoparticle, the release of the protein is triggered by exposing them with the NIR laser, which can safely penetrate through biological tissue. This provides us the advantage of delivering proteins into targets in a space and time dependent manner.