News FocusBiochemistry

A Sweet Way to Keep Proteins Safe

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1793
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1793

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A strategy used by plants and insects to wrap proteins in a protective sugar cocoon is poised to move from lab bench to marketplace. Drug developers are wielding these glassy shields to protect fragile protein drugs from the harsh world until they are absorbed by the bloodstream, such as inhalable insulin, calcitonin for osteoporosis, and a-1-antitrypsin for emphysema. Other researchers hope to develop sugar-encased drugs and nutritional supplements for countries that have scant means for refrigerating and transporting fragile proteins.