A team of Canadian researchers from Université de Montréal has designed and validated a new class of drug transporters made of DNA that are 20,000 times smaller than a human hair and that could improve how cancers and other diseases are treated

Reported in a new study in Nature Communications, these molecular transporters can be chemically programmed to deliver optimal concentration of drugs, making them more efficient than current methods.

Optimal dosing at all times: a medical challenge

One of the key ways to successfully treat disease is to provide and maintain a therapeutic drug dosage throughout treatment. Sub-optimal therapeutic exposure reduces efficiency and typically leads to drug resistance, while overexposure increases side effects.

Maintaining an optimal concentration of drugs in the blood remains a major challenge in modern medicine. Since most drugs undergo rapid degradation, patients are forced to (and often forget) to take multiple doses at regular intervals. And because each patient has a distinct pharmacokinetic profile, the drugs concentration in their blood varies significantly.

Observing that only about 50 per cent of cancer patients get an optimal drug dosage during certain chemotherapy, UdeM Chemistry associate professor Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, an expert in bio-inspired nanotechnologies, started to explore how biological systems control and maintain the concentration of biomolecules.

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