The project as it is currently shaped borrowed heavily from the HIV capsid idea. From our research we knew that attacking HIV with a single drug was a sub-optimal way of attacking it since it would gain resistance to it rather quickly. We also knew that finding and targeting HIV properly was a challenge as well. More generally, a particle delivery system that could target an object by responding to multiple stimuli from said object would be very useful.
Hence, the idea for a particle-carrying container with the ability to respond to multiple stimuli was born. If we could create a box that could release particles in response to two different stimuli(in our HIV analogy, for example, one stimuli could be gp120 and another stimuli could be gp41 when exposed by the gp120 interaction with the cells CD4), then we could target the same object at different times in a cycle or different parts of the object vulnerable to different drugs.
The above screenshots of our design in caDNAno better illustrate our idea. On the left we see an opened top view of the structure. On the right is the bottom view of the structure, with the opening flap removed so that the divisor between the two "compartments" can be seen. We were motivated to design the structure such that the top opened in response to a different stimulus than the bottom.
As we were developing our particle delivery device, we wanted to create an original mechanism that could realistically change the way drugs are delivered to targets. The precise drug release would be highly controllable and would thus minimize side effects. It could change currently invasive treatments into less harmful ones. Being able to dynamically treat an illness on the nanoscale with two different but specific drugs would drastically impact, and possibly revolutionize, the current approaches to treatment.