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February 25, 2009

Tiny “submarines” made from biological materials could deliver drugs to specific sites in the body.


Nano-sized drug couriers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When you mail a package, the post office delivers it to whatever destination you name. Now, immunologist Dan Peer of Tel Aviv University in Israel is designing tiny packages that will deliver drugs to specific addresses in the body. The packages are molecule-sized bubbles made from biological material, carrying proteins that bind to particular cells.

DAN PEER (Tel Aviv University):
So they can float in the body like small submarines, and target specific cells – and in a very specific manner.

Once they bind to the cells, they deliver their medical payload, and the coating harmlessly degrades. So far, Peer’s team has published blueprints and proofs of concept, and they hope to have a model for human clinical trials within three years. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.