Drug Delivery System
With the high integration of virology, molecular biology, protein chemistry, inorganic chemistry and materials science, many new materials with controllable physical properties have been developed. Virus-like particles (VLPs) have a similar structure to the parental virus and are not infectious because they do not have genetic material. VLPs are considered to be very effective vaccine platforms and drug delivery systems that can be applied for different functions such as gene therapy, vaccination, nanotechnology and diagnostics.
Drug Delivery System
Drug delivery refers to the transport of drug compounds to the target site to achieve the desired therapeutic effect, including delivery methods and techniques. An ideal drug delivery system can change the rate and time of drug release to produce sufficient or sustained drug concentrations after delivering the drug to target cells, target tissues, or target organs. In addition, the ideal drug delivery system is not affected by the volume or charge of the biopharmaceutical, nor is it degraded by enzymes.
The systems currently used for drug delivery are mainly nanocarriers, including dendrimers, liposomes, polymers, and virus-like particles (VLPs). When used as drug delivery systems, nanocarriers can make drugs more biocompatible and water-soluble, exhibiting low toxicity and high cellular uptake, while exhibiting high efficiency in improving drug delivery and targeting strategies.
VLP as Drug Delivery System
As a nanomaterial, VLPs play important roles in drug delivery, gene therapy, cell targeting, and cancer therapy. VLPs can deliver substances such as drugs, proteins/peptides, DNA and siRNA.
- Small Molecule Drug Delivery
When VLP is used as a small molecule drug delivery system, it can improve the bioavailability of anticancer drugs (bleomycin, doxorubicin, etc.). Anticancer drugs are linked to VLPs through the amino acid residues on the surface of VLPs and can also be encapsulated in VLPs in a reversible self-assembly process through changes in external conditions. In addition, anticancer drugs are thermodynamically stable after binding to VLPs, and have ligands on their surface that can target specific cells.
When the capsid protein of VLP is used as a contrast agent, it can be applied to the diagnosis of any disease. In addition to acting as a contrast agent for medical imaging, the protein capsid of VLP can also be used as a nanocarrier to achieve targeted delivery of imaging probes, enabling drug research and high-throughput screening.
- Gene Therapy Delivery
VLPs are considered natural nanomaterials that can accommodate genes, avoid their enzymatic degradation in body fluids, and deliver them to target sites for gene therapy, similar to drug delivery.
- DNA Delivery
The capsid proteins of VLPS can be modified to display additional epitopes, or to link ligands through chemical conjugation to recognize specific surface receptors for efficient DNA delivery to target cells. In addition, the delivery of foreign genes to the digestive tract mucosa via oral non-replicating gene transfer vectors is a very useful method for vaccination and gene therapy.
- siRNA Delivery
siRNAs are limited in their systemic delivery due to poor stability and low cellular permeability. VLP delivery systems can overcome these limitations, for example, VLP with electrostatic coatings can improve the efficiency of siRNA systemic delivery, and when VLP is chemically modified and conjugated with folic acid (FA), the targeting of siRNA drugs is significantly improved.
- mRNA Delivery
mRNA delivery methods and delivery vehicles are major obstacles to the development of mRNA therapy. Currently, commonly used delivery systems include lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), liposomes, lipoplexes, polymeric materials, micelles, and VLP. Among them, plant generated VLPs are widely used in biomedicine due to their ease of production and absence of the possibility of human virus contamination.
- Protein/Peptide Delivery
Protein/peptide drugs play an important role in the treatment of tumors, cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other diseases. As a protein/peptide delivery system, VLP can improve the bioavailability of drugs. In vivo and in vitro delivery of proteins/polypeptides is achieved by gene fusion or chemical conjugation linked to VLP.
Advantages of VLP as Delivery System
Firstly, the diameter of VLP is about 20-150 nm, which has the characteristics of nanomaterials, good biocompatibility, large cargo capacity, easy production, and is suitable as a drug delivery platform. Secondly, VLPs are immunogenic and can stimulate the body to produce an immune response. Finally, the surface of the VLP also has amino acids that can be functionalized.
VLP as a delivery system. (Rohovie MJ, et al., 2017)
How We Can Help
As a global leader in the production and application of VLPs from VLPlantTM platform, CD BioSciences leverages its expertise to help our customers deliver drugs, proteins/peptides, nucleic acids and fluorescent probes and more. We are good at tailoring our services to the needs of our clients. Please contact us if you are interested.
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- Rohovie MJ.; et al., Virus-like particles: Next-generation nanoparticles for targeted therapeutic delivery. Bioeng Transl Med. 2017, 2: 43-57.