The new system involves crosslinking the individual molecules that combine to form the nanoparticle: the added structural stability should help reduce premature release of the drug in patients. The same crosslinkers also respond to environmental stimuli, which can be used to trigger drug release precisely at the tumor site.
Developed in the lab of Dr. Kit Lam at UC Davis, the nanoparticles self-assemble under aqueous conditions from molecules containing both hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts. Anti-cancer drugs are carried inside the resulting nanoparticle shell. Their efficacy can be further enhanced with the addition of tumor-targeting molecules that will bring the drug-loaded particles where they are needed.
For more information, see the Lam Lab's patent application for this technology.