Self Assmbling Protein Based Nanomedicines to Cure All Diseases.
Optimizing Gene Therapies to Cure all Diseases Through Nanotechnology
Imagine waking up in a world where we can cure vritually any disease by completely replacing the DNA of the malicious cell. Well, this is surely possible through the power of gene therapy…but, there is only one barrier thats actually stopping us from living in this fantasy. Biodistribution is a major flaw in the current therapy system that really stops us from being able to use the full potential of a gene therapy.
In attempt to solve this problem, many startups have popped up and have been developing various materials and nanocages/containers functionalized for a specific cell as potential solution. However, this doesn’t work. Most of these materials and strucutres create such large biocompatibility concerns.
This problem really got me thinking… It really boggled my mind thinking that we aren’t properly using the potential of these impactful gene therapies. After a couple hours of thinking, brainstorming and researching, I thought of an interesting concept. What if we can engineer self assembling proteins to be taken and exploited by traditional genetic engineering as efficient building blocks of fully compatible nanoparticles for drug delivery and how selected biological activities can be recruited to mimic viral behavior during infection.
This idea could potentially be that missing stepping stone to fully being able to unleash the beast of gene therapy. Let me explain how this works further.
Self-assembly strategy is a versatile approach to building out various ordered nano-structures. Proteins possess regular tertiary structure formed by coiling and folding of polypeptide chains into a group of secondary structures and its structure changes based on the amino acid sequences to bring in a large diversity in different strucutres, which provide a unique advantage in constructing different assemblies through spatially arranged proteins.
Meanwhile, controlling the strength, number or orientation of protein to protein interactions may change the way self assembly of proteins occurs. In other words, the protein structure, linker type, and arrangement demonstrates significant effect on the final self-assembling structures of proteins.
Mimicking Viral Behaviour Through Proteins
When designing proteins to mimick viral behaviour, there should be a couple main ‘characteristics’: immune system evasion which allows this virus to remain undetected by the immune system; tissue tropism which is where viruses first interact with one or more initial receptor(s) on the target cell surface, which could affect the virus structure and activate some viral surface proteins through Salic acids; cell entry which allows the carrier to enter the cell which will happen through clathrin-mediated endocytosis; and endosomal escape which essentially is being able to escape the endosomal through membrane fusion.
Gene therapy is when DNA is introduced into a patient to treat a genetic disease. The new DNA usually contains a functioning gene to correct the effects of a disease-causing mutation.
A gene that is inserted directly into a cell usually does not function. Instead, a carrier called a vector is genetically engineered to deliver the gene. Certain viruses are often used as vectors because they can deliver the new gene by infecting the cell. The viruses are modified so they can’t cause disease when used in people. Certain viruses, such as retroviruses, integrate their genetic material/code (including the new gene) into a chromosome in the human cell. Other viruses on the other hand, such as adenoviruses, introduce their DNA into the nucleus of the cell, but the DNA is not integrated into a chromosome.
Combining the Three
So now that we have identified how we can self assemble proteins and how we can use this; mimicking the behaviours of viruses thorugh these proteins to attack the cell efficiently, and how we can load this with gene thearpy to actually treat the disease we can use these pieces of science and technology to efficiently improve the current drug delivey process.
Key Learning Points/Takeaways
That was definetly a lot to take in! Combining gene therapy with self assembling protein nanostructures definetly is going to be a long way ahead. Here are the key takeaways from this article.
- Gene therapy alone will not be able to create drastic impact. We need to couple it with exponential technologies such as self assembly nanotechnology to advance this field and really imrpove current treatments.
- Self assembling nanotechnologies can be applied into virtually any industry and can create a drastic impact. We need to learn how to use this tool to our advantage and solve some really important problems.
- We can use the protien macromolecule for almost anything, its the most diverse macromolecule and when put together with nanotechnology more specifically self assembly nanotechnology, it can do wonders,
Being able to unlock the potential of gene therapy, will revolutionize the way we treat diseases in the next 5–10 years and by leveraging self assembling nano-protien structures, we will definetly be able to cure all diseases out there.
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