Small-molecule therapeutics treat a wide variety of diseases, but their effectiveness is often diminished because of their pharmacokinetics — what the body does to a drug. After administration, the body dictates how much of the drug is absorbed, which organs the drug enters, and how quickly the body metabolizes and excretes the drug again.
Nanoparticles, usually made out of lipids, polymers, or both, can improve the pharmacokinetics, but they can be complex to produce and often carry very little of the drug.
Some combinations of small-molecule cancer drugs and two small-molecule dyes have been shown to self-assemble into nanoparticles with extremely high payloads of drugs, but it is difficult to predict which small-molecule partners will form nanoparticles among the millions of possible pairings.
MIT researchers have developed a screening platform that combines machine learning with high-throughput experimentation to identify self-assembling nanoparticles quickly. In a study published in Nature…
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