Proteins are organic macromolecules essential in life but exploited, mainly in recombinant versions, as drugs or vaccine components, among other uses in industry or biomedicine. In oncology, individual proteins or supramolecular complexes have been tailored as small molecular weight drug carriers for passive or active tumor cell-targeted delivery, through the de novo design of appropriate drug stabilizing vehicles, or by generating constructs with different extents of mimesis of natural cell-targeted entities, such as viruses. In most of these approaches, a convenient nanoscale size is achieved through the oligomeric organization of the protein component in the drug conjugate. Among the different taken strategies, highly cytotoxic proteins such as microbial or plant toxins have been conveniently engineered to self-assemble as self-delivered virus-like, nanometric structures, chemically homogeneous that target metastatic cancer stem cells for the destruction of metastasis in absence of any partner vehicle.
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