Small but mighty: nanovesicles extracted from plants could help in the battle against cancer and many other diseases.
by Md Niamat Hossain, Massimo Conese and Sante Di Gioia
As their name indicates, plant-derived nanovesicles are a group of nano-scaled vesicles collected from plants – specifically from vegetables and fruits. These nanovesicles are non-toxic and can be used as drug carriers. However, not only are they able to deliver drug substances to disease sites but they can also be used in the treatment of diseases like cancer. The main benefits of natural nano-medicines are their small size, their nontoxicity, and their safety for the environment.
At present, there are numerous vegetables and fruits, from which nanovesicles are collected, for example grapefruits, apples, lemons, carrots, ginger, broccoli, wheat, and mushrooms. Since vegetables and fruits are at hand everywhere, plant-derived nanovesicles can be easily produced in large quantities and reduce the cost of medical products. “Their characterization, however,” Biotechnologist Dr. Md Niamat Hossain explains, “is challenging and their features differ from plant to plant.”
Plant-derived nanovesicles have a variety of important biological properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which can protect tissues and organs from harm.
To test the effects of plant-derived nanovesicles, researchers frequently use living cell cultures. Experiments have proven that plant-derived nanovesicles can be easily taken up by mammalian cells and change the behavior of these cells. Animal models, for instance in rats and mice, have also demonstrated the successful transfer of drug substances to disease sites. According to a recent review paper in Open Medicine, researchers are now hoping to advance these therapeutic applications to humans.
To our current knowledge, plant-derived nanovesicles seem to be useful in the fight against gastrointestinal diseases, liver diseases, and different forms of cancer. In the future, so Dr. Hossain and colleagues predict, they could also be used in the treatment of many other diseases due to their oxidative and inflammatory responses. Finally, plant-derived nanovesicles can be considered for the delivery of various drugs, such as anti-proliferative agents and gene-based medicines.
“We foresee that this green technology will advance our therapies in regard to many diseases, and especially cancer,” the authors conclude.
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