Self-Assembled Hybrid Drug Delivery Vesicles for Safe Passage Through Bloodstream

Scientists at the RIKEN research institution in Japan have developed new soft nanovesicles to carry and release drugs within the body. The hybrid shells, made of lipids and peptides, open up and release their cargo when exposed to heat.

The combination of lipids and peptides as the materials of the vesicles allows them to both securely carry onto their cargo, while being thermoresponsive, allowing for targeted and controlled drug delivery. “Some of the problems that still need to be solved include low stability, short circulation times in the bloodstream, controlled drug release and poor targeting of tissue,” said Motoki Ueda from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, in a published statement. “I’m convinced that soft materials can overcome these problems.”

While it may seem difficult to create complex 3D structures from different molecular materials while encapsulating a drug, the Japanese researchers were able to develop a method for the vesicles to self-assemble within a specially prepared solution. While similar results have been developed by other teams, the latest development has led to both self-assembled and very strong particles that can survive the challenging environment within the blood stream.

The vesicles can be stored at just about freezing temperature, but when injected they change their structure, opening up and releasing their contents. There’s still work to be done to optimize the process and be able to control the drug release at different temperatures and locations.

Study in Journal of The American Chemical Society: Spontaneous Formation of Gating Lipid Domain in Uniform-Size Peptide Vesicles for Controlled Release…