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"Pill" Box Traps Pharmaceuticals

NSF Award:

Gas Phase Supramolecular Characterization  (Brigham Young University)

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Researchers have discovered a molecular "lid" for a molecule-sized box that is large enough to hold drug compounds. The resulting containers are size-selective: The boxes trap only molecules that fit inside.

Progress in container development will provide sensitive drug molecules with protection from chemical degradation in the body. This kind of robust cargo transport ensures these compounds travel safely to target organs, where they will release in a controlled fashion. Such fundamental work forms a basis for future "smart" medicines.

The methods developed in David Dearden's group at Brigham Young University enable construction and characterization of machines built from the smallest possible components--atoms and molecules. Dearden's group, which includes both undergraduate and graduate students, uses pumpkin-shaped molecules called cucurbiturils as the building blocks for their unique payload haulers.


  • molecular box traps drug compounds
Molecular "box" can transport drug compounds to target locations.
David Dearden, Brigham Young University

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