Towards protein-based viral mimetics for cancer therapies

Ugutz Unzueta, María Virtudes Céspedes, Esther Vázquez, Neus Ferrer-Miralles, Ramón Mangues, Antonio Villaverde

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. High resistance and recurrence rates, together with elevated drug clearance, compel the use of maximum-tolerated drug doses in cancer therapy, resulting in high-grade toxicities and limited clinical applicability. Promoting active drug accumulation in tumor tissues would minimize such issues and improve therapeutic outcomes. A new class of therapeutic drugs suitable for the task has emerged based on the concept of virus-mimetic nanocarriers, or 'artificial viruses'. Among the spectrum of materials under exploration in nanocarrier research, proteins offer unparalleled structural and functional versatility for designing virus-like molecular vehicles. By exhibiting 'smart' functions and biomimetic traits, protein-based nanocarriers will be a step ahead of the conventional drug-protein conjugates already in the clinic in ensuring efficient delivery of passenger antitumor drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Biomaterials
  • Biomimetics
  • Drug delivery
  • Protein engineering
  • Protein nanoparticles
  • Targeted therapy


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