Chemical Communications cover article. Cover reproduced with the permission of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Cancer is a major health problem worldwide, being the most common cause of death after cardiovascular diseases. Every year, more than 12 million people are diagnosed with cancer, and more than 1 in 3 people in Europe will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Although there are great advances in terms of diagnosis and treatment, where cancer survival rates in Europe have doubled in the last 40 years, cancer remains a key health concern. Finding an effective drug delivery system (DDS) for therapeutic agents has been an ongoing challenge in bioengineering in order to improve the efficiency of therapeutic agents. In this context, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as potential candidates owing to their distinctive characteristics, such as high pore volumes, large surface areas, and tuneable surface chemistry. The relatively poor chemical stability of the MOF family compromises many of their advantages for industrial applications. However, in drug delivery processes this chemical instability can be considered advantageous, since, unlike e.g. mesoporous silicas, MOF-DDS can be degraded in the body after the drug has been released. Limitations in their use do still remain however, such as very fast kinetic deliveries of under 3 days.
Recent work by Claudia Orellana-Tavra at the Adsorption & Advanced Materials Lab, and led by Dr. Fairen-Jimenez, in collaboration with the Functional Inorganics and Hybrid Materials from the Department of Material Science and Metallurgic, has achieved an extended release over more than 30 days, compared with only the 2 days from the original MOF. The DDS was not only able to extend the release time but to penetrate into the cells while maintaining the kinetic characteristics of the delivery.
The article was published in Chemical Communications, and was chosen to feature on the front cover of the journal.
Claudia Orellana-Tavra, Emma F. Baxter, Tian Tian, Thomas D. Bennett, Nigel K. H. Slater, Anthony K. Cheethamb and David Fairen-Jimenez