The site and moment when a gene carrier will release its cargo and endow the cells of a specific tissue with the correspondent protein, can be controlled simply with a low-power laser, thanks to the shrewd architecture of the synthetic gene-delivery system presented in the December issue of Nature Materials. This system has great implications for the development of targeted gene therapy based on non-viral systems, according to Kazunori Kataoka and co-authors.
The complex consists of a DNA carrier, capable of driving the external genes towards the nucleus of cells, and a dendrimer that acts as a light sensitizer, both combined into one structure. On light irradiation, the dendrimer will be activated and will break open the intracellular compartment in which the DNA carrier is kept, enabling it to make its way to the nucleus. Thus, by selecting the irradiation spot it will be possible to target the tissues in need of treatment. For example, the authors showed, with an animal experiment, that this system could be suitable for gene therapy of ophthalmic diseases.
Kazunori Kataoka (University of Tokyo, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Materials press release.
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