Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University have engineered micro devices to help make drug delivery efficient and accurate, and eliminate gastrointestinal acceleration of drug movement that leads to administered drugs being excreted before the elapse of their administration in the body. Normal conscription and extension of the gastrointestinal muscles make it difficult for most extended release drugs to remain in the tract long enough for the patient to have the full dose as recommended. The scientists were inspired by a parasitic worm that digs its teeth into its host’s intestines.
David Gracias, PhD, who is a professor in the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering, and Florin M. Selaru, a Medical Doctor, gastroenterologist and the Director of the Johns Hopkins Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center; both led a team of researchers and biomedical engineers that designed and tested the shape-changing microdevices that work like the parasitic hookworm which attaches itself to an organism’s intestines.
The devices are very tiny, each the size of a dust particle, and are made of metal and thin, shape-changing film, and coated in heat-sensitive paraffin wax.
The team published its observations of an animal study: Gastrointestinal-resistant, shape-changing microdevices extend drug release in vivo in the scientific publication, Science Advances.
They wrote: “Extended-release gastrointestinal (GI) luminal delivery substantially increases the ease of administration of drugs and consequently the adherence to therapeutic regimens. However, because of clearance by intrinsic GI motility, device gastroretention and extended drug release over a prolonged duration are very challenging. Here, we report that GI parasite–inspired active mechanochemical therapeutic grippers, or theragrippers, can reside within the GI tract of live animals for 24 hours by autonomously latching onto the mucosal tissue. We also observe a notable sixfold increase in the elimination half-life using theragripper-mediated delivery of a model analgesic ketorolac tromethamine.”
They continued: “These results provide first-in-class evidence that shape-changing and self-latching microdevices enhance the efficacy of extended drug delivery. Made of metal and thin, shape-changing film and coated in a heat-sensitive paraffin wax, named “theragrippers,” each roughly the size of a dust speck, potentially can carry any drug and release it gradually into the body.
“Made of metal and thin, shape-changing film and coated in a heat-sensitive paraffin wax, named “theragrippers,” each roughly the size of a dust speck, potentially can carry any drug and release it gradually into the body. Gradual or extended release of a drug is a long-sought goal in medicine. Selaru explains that a problem with extended-release drugs is they often make their way entirely through the gastrointestinal tract before they’ve finished dispensing their medication. Normal constriction and relaxation of GI tract muscles make it impossible for extended-release drugs to stay in the intestine long enough for the patient to receive the full dose.”
Selaru, who has worked with Gracias for more than 10 years, said, “We’ve been working to solve this problem by designing these small drug carriers that can autonomously latch onto the intestinal mucosa and keep the drug load inside the GI tract for a desired duration of time.”
Source: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, http://www.genengnews.com