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Self-Assembling Sacs and Membranes Reported

April 25, 2008 

photo of self-assembling sacIn the March 28 issue of the journal Science, NIDCR grantees and colleagues report their initial success creating unique self-sealing, macroscopic sacs and membranes.  These nano-type materials in theory could be used to encapsulate stem cells, small molecules, or other therapeutics.  As envisioned, they could be placed in the body without immune detection, reach a tissue of interest, quickly biodegrade, and release their biologic cargo, which may include nanostructures targeted to other specific locations.  According to the scientists, these structures form via a dynamic synergy between a megadalton-scale polymer and other self assembling small molecules with an opposite electrical charge.  The resulting closed sacs have a highly organized molecular architecture; in fact, as the membrane grows, its nanofiber bundles align and reorient by nearly 90 degrees.  The scientists noted, “. . . ordered thick membranes could be molecularly customized to possess desired physical or bioactive functions.  An interesting possibility is to design similar systems in organic solvents for non-biologic applications.”



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This page last updated: April 01, 2014