Structure and biological activity of pathogen-like synthetic nanomedicines

Nanomedicine. 2012 May;8(4):497-506. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2011.07.013. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Here we characterize the structure, stability and intracellular mode of action of DermaVir nanomedicine that is under clinical development for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. This nanomedicine comprises pathogen-like pDNA/PEIm nanoparticles (NPs) having the structure and function resembling spherical viruses that naturally evolved to deliver nucleic acids to the cells. Atomic force microscopy demonstrated spherical 100 - 200 nm NPs with a smooth polymer surface protecting the pDNA in the core. Optical absorption determined both the NP structural stability and biological activity relevant to their ability to escape from the endosome and release the pDNA at the nucleus. Salt, pH and temperature influence nanomedicine shelf-life and intracellular stability. This approach facilitates the development of diverse polyplex nanomedicines where the delivered pDNA-expressed antigens induce immune responses to kill infected cells.

From the clinical editor: The authors investigated DermaVir nanomedicine comprised of pathogen-like pDNA/PEIm nanoparticles with structure and function resembling spherical viruses. DermaVir delivery of pDNA expresses antigens that induce immune responses to kill HIV infected cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines* / chemistry
  • AIDS Vaccines* / pharmacology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus*
  • DNA* / chemistry
  • DNA* / pharmacology
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles* / ultrastructure
  • Particle Size
  • Transfection / methods*


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • DermaVir
  • DNA