Novel bovine serum albumin-magnetite nanotorpedo system constructed for drug delivery

According to a paper published in Chemical Engineering Journal recently, a team from the High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HMFL), Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, successfully designed a safe and efficient nanotorpedo for the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs.

“This nanotorpedo integrated the advantages of inorganic nanocarrier and protein carriers, which are two important drug delivery systems,” said Prof. WANG Junfeng, who led the team.

A safe and efficient drug delivery system is one of the most promising means for tumor therapy and reducing toxic side effect.

The liposomal chemotherapy drug delivery has been applied in the clinic in recent years. However, the poor stability of liposomal chemicals brings drug leakage in the blood circulation. The two drug delivery systems, the inorganic nanocarriers and the protein system, still have their own limitations, typically the biological toxicity of inorganic nanoparticles and the low drug loading efficiency of protein carriers. Therefore, combining the superiority of inorganic nanoparticles and protein carriers can be a feasible strategy to optimize the drug delivery system.

Inspired by natural biomineralization, biomimetic synthesis using biomacromolecular templates (e.g. proteins) has become an important method for constructing organic-inorganic composites with high biocompatibility and stability.

In this study, based on the previous works, researchers successfully designed a BSA-magnetite nanotorpedo in a simple approach after integrating the advantages of the above two drug delivery systems.
The nanotorpedo is composed of magnetite and doxorubicin (Dox) molecules encapsulated by a self-assembled nanocage of 6 bovine serum albumin (BSA) subunits. It effectively solved the leakage problem of hydrophobic drug molecules, and prolonged their half-life in blood circulation.

The further in vitro and in vivo experiments showed the superiority of this nanotorpedo in biosafety, stability, intracellular transport and tumor inhibition, presenting great prospects of drug delivery in the field of nanomedicine.
Aside from that, the team proposed the complex structure of this nanotorpedo, which is based on transmission electron microscope (TEM), molecular dynamics simulation and computational modeling.

The results explained the structure-activity relationships of the nanotorpedo as a drug carrier, which expanded the research basis of drug carrier development.