A U of T Engineering research team has created a new platform that delivers multiple therapeutic proteins to the body, each at its own independently controlled rate. The innovation could help treat degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50.
Unlike traditional drugs made of small molecules, therapeutic proteins are synthetic versions of larger biomolecules naturally present in the body. One example is the synthetic insulin used to treat diabetes. There are other proteins that can modulate the body’s own repair processes in ways that small-molecule drugs cannot.
“Proteins have great therapeutic potential, but they are notoriously difficult to deliver,” says Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, BME, Donnelly), who led the team.
“For more than a decade, our group has been coming up with different ways to solve that fundamental problem.”