Research unveils power of fruit for less toxic drug delivery


Drug delivery using natural material found in plants is a breakthrough development in medical science. Scientists at the University of Louisville have discovered a less toxic way to administer medicines using natural lipids found in plants, especially ginger and grapefruit.

The intellectual property portfolio developed consists of 12 patent families. In fact, the method is part of efforts of Boston-based Senda BioSciences to develop novel drug delivery platforms. Such efforts are aimed to solve the difficulties of transferring therapeutics beyond biological barriers and throughout the body.

The method uses exosomes, which are very small bits of living, edible plant cells to carry various therapeutic means, including DNA/RNA, anti-cancer drugs, and proteins such as antibodies. Meanwhile, currently, nanoparticles or liposomes fabricated from synthetic materials are used to deliver medicines.

Currently used Synthetic materials have drawbacks

However, high cost for the manufacture of these materials in large quantities and risk of adverse health effects such as chronic inflammation and cell toxicity are some drawbacks of synthetic materials currently used. On the other hand, edible, plant-based exosomes developed by scientists at the University of Louisville don’t have these problems as they are obtained from readily available sources. Additionally, these exosomes feature anti-inflammatory effects.

“The exosomes come from edible plants or fruit, something that are good for health. The ones that are bought from grocery store, and have been consumed forever,” said one of the research associates behind the development. And, this does not require synthetic formulation.

Besides this, the exosomes synthesized from fruit lipids can also be altered to target and administer medications to specific cell types within the body, added the research associate. For example, the exosomes could be arranged to administer cancer therapeutic directly to cancer cells.

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