In a study published in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers have shown that bacteria may be used to deliver “smart nanoparticles” into a cell to precisely position sensors, drugs or DNA for the early diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.
“The released cargo is designed to be transported to different locations in the cells to carry out disease detection and treatment simultaneously,” said Bashir, a professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Because the bacteria and nanoparticle material can be selected from many choices, this is a delivery system that can be tailored to the characteristics of the receiving cells. It can deliver diagnostic or therapeutic cargo effectively for a wide range of needs.”
This delivery system has been demonstrated in cultures of human cancer cells, including intestinal, oral, liver, ovarian and breast cancer cells. They also tested their method on live mice and showed how the technique could be used to deliver specific genes to various organs, including the liver and kidneys.