New Israeli technology could use light to control the effects of drugs

“This technology opens up possibilities for biomedical and biotechnological applications”

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a new technology that can better control the effect of drugs in the human body using ultraviolet light. This technology is inspired by the “viral factories” made by the measles virus when it infects a cell. As their name suggests, these compartments are created inside the host cell and contain the material needed to make other virus particles. Recent studies have also shown that these “viral factories” are actually liquid-like structures.

Led by PhD student Itai Katzir, the researchers designed a peptide – a small protein – that forms spaces that resemble “viral factories”. A unique element was then added to the peptide: the control of the encapsulation and release of the molecules using UV light.

Tel Aviv University Tlalit Massarano, Dr. Avigail Baruch & Dr. Ayala Lampel

Dr. Ayala Lampel, who supervised the research, explains: “Our goal was to design liquid-like spaces from a complex of peptide and RNA molecules that will allow efficient encapsulation of different biomolecules while preserving their original structure.

“We have shown that by exposing the compartments to UV light and releasing the protecting group, we can control the release of the encapsulated biomolecules,” she added. “Another unique feature of this system is the high permeability and carrying capacity of the encapsulated molecules, which is partially limited by current technologies.”

“This technology opens up possibilities for biomedical and biotechnological applications, including the encapsulation, delivery and release of drugs, proteins, antibodies or other therapeutic molecules.”

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