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Discovery & Development Drug Delivery, Small Molecules

The Mitochondrial Trojan Horse

This article was published in our sister publication, The Small Molecule Manufacturer, which celebrates the field of small molecule drug development and manufacturing with interviews and articles focusing on success stories, equipment, and new processing techniques. Read more about The Small Molecule Manufacturer here https://themedicinemaker.com/manufacture/small-but-never-forgotten 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a metal-organic framework (MOF) that helps deliver cancer drug candidates directly to mitochondria (1).

According to David Fairén-Jiménez, a researcher at the university, the MOFs developed by his team enter the cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis, “smuggling” drugs into mitochondria. “We loaded our MOFs with dichloroacetate, an anticancer drug candidate currently undergoing clinical trials, and found that the drug-loaded MOFs can reduce the drug dose needed to kill cancer cells, something that could lessen the side-effects of chemotherapy,” he said (2).

Fairén-Jiménez admits the research is just “one piece in a jigsaw” of effort around the possibilities of MOFs for targeted drug delivery. His group is currently expanding its work to investigate the potential of different MOFs, anticancer drugs, and coatings.

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  1. S Haddad et a.l, “Design of a Functionalized Metal–Organic Framework System for Enhanced Targeted Delivery to Mitochondria”, J Am Chem Soc, 142, 6661, (2020).
  2. Chemistry World, “MOF delivers cancer drug candidate straight to mitochondria”, 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3boP0FR 

About the Author

Maryam Mahdi

Associate Editor

After finishing my degree, I envisioned a career in science communications. However, life took an unexpected turn and I ended up teaching abroad. Though the experience was amazing and I learned a great deal from it, I jumped at the opportunity to work for Texere. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me!

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