Photo-Sensitive Micro Storage Molecules

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I am sometimes just amazed by what we can do as a collective intelligence – this is one of those cases.

Scientists have created a molecule that acts as a capsule of sorts, perhaps to deliver medication inside the body.  The molecules, when exposed to a combination of colors of light – in this case UV followed by red – unlocks the molecule to deliver its payload.  Shining green light onto the molecule “resets” the lock.  The technology was engineered with one of many purposes being to prevent medicine from not reaching a certain type of tissue.

From an article on the subject:

A lock-like molecule designed by University of Florida chemistry researchers clasps or unclasps based on exposure to light. In laboratory tests, the chemists put the lock on an enzyme involved in clotting. They then exposed the enzyme to visible and . The clasp opened and closed, clotting the blood or letting it flow.

The results suggest that the biological hardware could one day be used to prevent the formation of tiny that feed tumors. The little lock could also be placed in drugs, giving doctors the ability to release them only on diseased cells, tissues or organs — maximizing their efficacy while preventing side effects from damage to healthy tissue.

So, essentially, you could inject these molecules into the body, and as they reach the organ you need to fix, they can be triggered with this light combination, and they open up to deliver the parcel.  My first question was how to get those colors of light through thick tissue to unlock the molecule – different wavelengths of light will need to be researched for that purpose.  An interesting aspect of this technology is that we actually already have the “locking molecule,” only a chemical version.  It is apparently very slow and can get in the way of itself, if you will – the chemical made to open the molecule can sometimes hinder it from opening.  That’s convenient!

Thanks, PhysOrg!