NANOVEHICLES FOR INTRACELLULAR PROTEIN DELIVERY
Juan L Vivero-Escoto
Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The Center for Biomedical Engineering and Science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Protein therapeutics holds significant promise for improving human health [1,2]. Our organism contains thousands of proteins, which perform essential functions in growth, development and metabolism regulation. Many diseases arise from the alterations in the functions of intracellular proteins . Therefore, the administration of therapeutic proteins has shown great potential in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer and diabetes. Protein therapeutics has emerged since the 1980s and represents currently a significant part of biopharmaceuticals . For example, Lantus®, an engineered protein (insulin) was one of the top ten selling biopharmaceuticals in 2009 . Moreover, protein drugs with much better therapeutic performance are developed every year. The pharmaceutical research and manufacturers of America (PHRMA) listed 78 therapeutic proteins in 813 new biotechnology medicines related to more than 100 diseases in 2011, including virus infectious, cancer and autoimmune diseases . The high intracellular activity and specificity of proteins compared to more conventional, low molecular weight drugs often allows for a better treatment of diseases. Moreover, protein drugs may be safer than gene therapy because no random or permanent genetic changes are involved .
Roald Hoffmann is a chemistry Nobel laureate who has made seminal contributions to the field of molecular chemistry. However,a lesser known fact is that he's also a poet, a prolific writer with several books and countless essays and a science educator.
In his new essay ,"Small but Strong Lessons from Chemistry for Nanoscience" published in Angewandte Chemie, he gives a pedagogical account of connections between surface chemistry and nanoscience. He candidly points towards all the hype surrounding nanostructures and tries to put that in a proper context from a chemist's perspective. He discusses the complexities involved in characterizing or understanding the surface of nanostructures, role of dimensionality and what lessons might be learned from surface science on structural relaxation and reconstruction. This is a must read for all chemists especially the researchers working in the field of nanoscale or surface science.
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