Subscribe to Newsletter
Discovery & Development Drug Delivery, Small Molecules

The Mitochondrial Trojan Horse

This article is part of our special focus on "traditional" pharma: The Small Molecule Manufacturer (read more here). You can find more articles from The Small Manufacturer here.

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.

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Medicine Maker and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

  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: 
About the Author
Maryam Mahdi

Deputy 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!

Register to The Medicine Maker

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Medicine Maker magazine