This Combination of Nanoparticles, Enzymes, and Moieties Targets and Destroys Malignant or Infected Cells
These nanozymes can be loaded with drugs to target and treat cancers and viral infections. The term nanozyme is a combination of the words nanoparticle and enzyme. Nanoparticles are simply the smallest units of matter that retain the ability to function as a single entity. Enzymes are proteins that increase the rates of chemical reactions, thereby allowing cells to quickly build or breakdown molecules. By combining nanoparticles, enzymes, and moieties (specific groups of atoms that affect molecules’ selectivity), University of Florida researchers have created nanozymes. Each component performs a specific biotechnological function: the nanoparticles act as scaffolding, the enzymes destroy DNA or RNA of viruses or cancerous cells, and the moieties protect the enzymes while guiding them toward a particular location within the body. These nanozymes can also be loaded with drugs, which are released when they reach sites of infection or abnormal cell growth. This breakthrough technology will allow medical scientists to specifically target and destroy many diseases and malignancies. According the American Cancer Society, half of men and a third of women develop cancer during their lives. Viruses such as influenza, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are also widespread and life-threatening. Clearly, effective anticancer and antiviral treatments are in great demand.
ApplicationA treatment for cancers and viral infections
- Can be administered through different routes (intravenous, topical, etc) permitting flexible treatment
- Includes certain moieties that protect the enzymes and drugs from degradation, increasing their effectiveness against cancers and viruses
- Treatment is targeted, mitigating damage to healthy body tissue and minimizing side effectsy
- Could incorporate imaging agents, allowing healthcare providers to observe treatments in real-time