Who created it? Specialists from the Siberian Federal University (SFU). They developed a new transporter molecule with ‘beacons’. What for? To visualize the targeted delivery of drugs. That is the purpose of creating a “firefly” molecule.
The proposed substance is hypoallergenic, boosts immunity, has low toxicity and possesses other useful qualities. Where did you publish the results? In the journal Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Physics.
Drugs with light
These are biologically compatible polymers. On their own they are not capable of producing fluorescence, in other words, glowing. But transforming them into fluorescent polymers makes it possible to create tools for their visualization. This could be done in various biomedical systems.
Such connections could serve as a vehicle for introducing drugs into the organism. Or as a sensor sensitive to temperature or acid-alkaline balance of the environment.
Manufacturing them requires a lot of attention. There is the possibility of overloading the functional molecule, which must transport the active drug, with luminous ‘beacons’. This is why they must be hypoallergenic and not very toxic, the researchers stress.
The Siberian Federal University team proposed arabinogalactan as a base.What is that? A natural water-soluble polysaccharide derived from Siberian larch. It would be the basis of the luminescent polymer. This substance penetrates well behind the membranes of living cells. It has a beneficial effect on the immune system and possesses other beneficial properties.
“We chemically bind luminescent molecules by labeling approximately one out of every hundred monomeric bonds in the polymer with them. Thus, most of the functional groups of the molecule remain unbound to the dye. It is possible to ‘plant’ drugs and other substances on them.” This was explained by Ekaterina Parfénova, SFU research engineer and graduate student.
The water-soluble complex combinations produced can be used to create more complex systems. The creation of a “firefly” molecule can be done in several ways.
“It turned out that a luminous dye can be ‘stitched’ to a polymer using various intermolecular mechanisms. This will be very useful in fundamental fluorescence research,” said Evguenia Slusariova. She is a professor in the Basic Department of Photonics and Laser Technologies at SFU.