Researchers have hijacked a molecular ‘syringe’ that some viruses and bacteria use to infect their hosts, and put it to work delivering potentially therapeutic proteins into human cells grown in the laboratory.

“It’s astonishing,” says Feng Jiang, a microbiologist at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Institute of Pathogen Biology in Beijing. “It is a huge breakthrough.”

The technique, published in Nature on 29 March1, could offer a new way to administer protein-based drugs, but will need more testing before it can be used in people. With further optimization, the approach might also be useful for delivering the components needed for CRISPR–Cas9 genome editing.

To read more, click here.