Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Highlights The Use Of Viruses As Tools For Material Science And Drug Delivery

Date:
May 18, 1998
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
What would you think if your doctor wanted to inject you with a virus as a part of your medical treatment? Though still a long way off, that is just one of the implications of a recent breakthrough by Temple University chemistry professor Trevor Douglas and Montana State University plant pathology professor Mark Young.

What would you think if your doctor wanted to inject you with a virus as a part of your medical treatment? Though still a long way off, that is just one of the implications of a recent breakthrough by Temple University chemistry professor Trevor Douglas and Montana State University plant pathology professor Mark Young. The results of their research appear in the May 14 issue of Nature.

Related Articles


Douglas and Young have utilized a "gating mechanism" in the protein coats of some simple viruses which allows them to admit and expel organic and inorganic material. Through these "reversible structural transitions" technicians will be able to remove the genetic component of a virus (the DNA or RNA that allows the virus to reproduce) and use the remaining protein coat as a container and delivery system for other substances.

Douglas and Young explain that "In their native state, viruses are protein assemblies which act as host containers for nucleic acid storage and transport. We have subverted this natural function." Their work is, to a large extent, a conceptual breakthrough. To see (and prove) that viruses are substances that can be taken apart, purged of genetic material, reassembled and used as couriers of selected substances is a significant challenge to conventional thinking.

Hope for significant medical advances come from the fact that the two researchers were able to load an organic substance similar to heparin--which is routinely used to treat coronary thrombosis--into cowpea chlorotic mottle virus. Because this phenomenon of gating is possible for a large number of viruses of different shapes and sizes, there is no reason to think that options for drug delivery are limited to any particular class of medicines.

The simple protein coats that Douglas and Young work with can also be "easily and routinely modified by design." This means that the loaded virus can be altered to target certain types of cells (like cancer cells) and holds the promise of being able to deliver drugs to very specific sites.

Young points out that the viruses he and Douglas work with are relatively simple plant viruses which 1) "are incredibly host-specific" and do not use animals as hosts; 2) are routinely and safely eaten by humans as part of vegetable material; and 3) have had their genetic material removed, leaving only a coat which can be used as a container. As such they pose no health threat to humans.

In fact, some of the most interesting implications of this study have nothing to do with traditional biology or biochemistry. Douglas and Young have used the protein coats of viruses as "size and shape constrained" chambers in which minerals crystallize in very specific and precise dimensions. The possibility of creating an unlimited number of homogeneously sized crystals would have a profound impact, for example, on the production of minaturized semiconductors and other patterned materials.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Temple University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Temple University. "Study Highlights The Use Of Viruses As Tools For Material Science And Drug Delivery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980518061624.htm>.
Temple University. (1998, May 18). Study Highlights The Use Of Viruses As Tools For Material Science And Drug Delivery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980518061624.htm
Temple University. "Study Highlights The Use Of Viruses As Tools For Material Science And Drug Delivery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980518061624.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins