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Institute for Commercialization

Small Peptide Self-Assembling Drug-Delivery Vesicles

Reference Number: K 09-08

Inventors: Tomich, John M.; Iwamoto, Takeo; Hiromasa, Yasuaki; Gudlur, Sushanth

Owner: Kansas State University Research Foundation


Invention Summary

The present invention is a novel vesicle-forming technology, useful for various applications including a potential new drug-delivery platform. Traditionally, physicians introduce anti-cancer drugs and other highly toxic materials to the patient systemically, thus creating many harmful side effects to healthy bystander tissues. For a more targeted approach, some companies employ the use of lipids to encapsulate the drugs in an attempt to deliver the drugs to the appropriate receptor prior to the body breaking down the delivery vehicle. Often, the immune system recognizes these lipids and destroys them before they reach their appropriate target, thus causing premature release of the enclosed substance and damaging surrounding tissues. Lipids also require many processing steps including extrusion and sonication in order to encapsulate the appropriate drug, thus making them undesirable for many applications.

The present technology involves a mixture of small peptides that spontaneously self-assemble in water to form vesicles. The resulting vesicles range in size from less than 50 nm in diameter to over 1 µm in diameter depending on the processing conditions and time. The individual peptides have a Critical Assembly Concentration (CAC) of less than 10 µm, making this technology attractive for drug delivery applications. The peptides can be made such that they evade the body’s immune system, and thus the vesicles can “cryptically” deliver the enclosed substances to the appropriate cellular targets. Furthermore, as these vesicles spontaneously form, it is not necessary to perform many of the processing steps required for lipid formation. This technology is essentially a hollow sphere that can potentially deliver many different types of molecules including small RNAs and DNAs, high toxicity compounds such as anti-cancer and anti-infection drugs, and insoluble compounds.


  • Peptide Vesicles do not face immune system reaction problems that competing encapsulation technologies encounter

  • Allows for the creation of various sized vesicles

  • Delivers toxic materials and anti-cancer drugs with minimal side effects


  • Time-release drug delivery

  • “Cryptic” delivery of toxic materials

  • Industrial Applications

  • Platform technology for various substance encapsulation