DNA nanotubes for delivering drugs to brain tumours
Our brains are precious. They make up so much of who we are. So it’s understandable that they’re protected by an armour called the blood-brain barrier (BBB) allowing nourishment of the brain while preventing other traffic. But this protective layer can quickly become an obstacle when you need to treat an aggressive brain tumour like a glioblastoma. Not only can it keep pathogens out, but it can block drugs from entering too. In the search for a way to deliver anti-cancer drugs straight to the tumour, researchers have used DNA as a building block and designed tiny nanotubes (pictured). These hollow tubes were intravenously injected into mice, passed through the BBB and internalised preferentially by the tumour cells. The nanotubes managed to deliver an anti-cancer drug directly to the tumour and enhance survival. This DNA nanotechnology is paving the way towards more successful deliveries of much-needed treatment to help these cancer patients.
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