Ella Maru Studio“Advanced Materials” cover
Researchers from Israel's Tel Aviv University developed a new technology that could lead to better control over the release of drugs in the human body - by using ultraviolet light.
The technology is inspired by the "viral factories" made by the measles virus when infecting a cell. True to their name, these compartments are made within the host cell, containing the necessary material for making more viral particles. Recent studies have also shown that these viral factories are actually liquid-like structures.
(Left to right): Tlalit Massarano, Dr. Avigail Baruch & Dr. Ayala Lampel
Led by Ph.D. student Itai Katzir, the researchers designed a peptide - a short protein - that formed compartments similar to the viral factories. A unique element was then added to the peptide: control of molecule encapsulation and release using UV light.
Dr. Ayala Lampel, who supervised the research, explained: "Our goal was to engineer liquid-like compartments from a complex of peptide and RNA molecules that will enable efficient encapsulation of various biomolecules while keeping their native structure."
Tel Aviv UniversityDr. Ayala Lampel
"We showed that by exposing the compartments to UV light and releasing the protecting group, we can control the release of encapsulated biomolecules," she added. "Another unique property of this system is the high permeability and loading capacity of the encapsulated molecules, which is limited in part by current technologies."