Molecular Playground/Targeting Peptide

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The RGD peptide is a popular peptide targeting motif used in experimental, nanoscale drug delivery vehicles (such as liposomes, micelles, dendrimers, nanoparticles, etc.) The RGD peptide binds specifically with cell adhesion molecules on the cell surface. Upregulation/overexpression of cell surface markers (such as this integrin) on certain kinds of cancer cells leads to selective accumulation of nanomaterial drug carriers within cancerous tissues, and targeted delivery of their payloads (drugs, contrast agents for imaging, etc.). Shown is the cyclic analogue of the RGD peptide complexed with alpha 5 Integrin.

Targeted Drug Delivery

Drugs are exogenous compounds administered to organisms to generate therapeutic effects. However, drugs exhibit complex and, often, unintended side effects. Targeted drug delivery systems can ameliorate the problem of drug toxicity by concentrating drugs exclusively at sites of their intended activity. Furthermore, targeted drug vehicles can deliver molecules (DNA/RNA) with known therapeutic value, but which, by themselves, are incapable of reaching tissues and cells in their therapeutic form. Aided by the vast knowledge of biological systems made available over the last fifty years by discoveries in the fields of Molecular Biology, Genomics, Biochemistry, and Physiology, advances in Materials Science hold great promise in bringing about a pharmacological revolution.

I am very grateful to NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Training Program, whose funding has made this work possible.

Chemistry-Biology Interface Program at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst Rotello Group Website

Schematic representation of a 2 nm Au nanoparticle delivery vehicle, functioanlized with an RGD peptide (image by David Solfiell)
Schematic representation of a 2 nm Au nanoparticle delivery vehicle, functioanlized with an RGD peptide (image by David Solfiell)

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David Solfiell

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