Navigation Links
'Micro shuttle' drug delivery could mean an end to regular dosing

Scientists working at Queen Mary, University of London, have developed micrometer-sized capsules to safely deliver drugs inside living cells.

In the future, this technique could allow full courses of prescription drugs to be effectively 'shrink-wrapped' and buried under the skin or inside the body.

These "micro shuttles" can be loaded with a specific dose of medication and be opened remotely, releasing their contents.

Using this new technique, drugs - like insulin for managing diabetes - could be implanted inside the body for use when they are needed. Their release could then be prompted by a biological trigger like a drop in blood sugar levels, or activated manually with a pulse of light.

PhD student Matthieu Bdard and Prof Gleb Sukhorukov of Queen Mary's School of Engineering and Materials Science have proved this new technique to work in living tissue by delivering fluorescent test-molecules in light-activated capsules.

The work is in partnership with Dr Sebastian Springer at Jacobs University in Bremen and colleagues from the Max Plank Institute of Colloids. The findings are reported in the October issue of Small (DOI: 10.1002/smll.200900809).

Matthieu Bdard said: "The main advantage of using such microcapsules is that they can be designed to be very stable inside the body, protecting their contents. This is particularly important for the many medications that are rapidly degraded or altered by the body. These capsules can be used to 'store' drugs in the body for later use."

The capsules, which have a diameter of two micrometers (about the size of a bacterium), are built by wrapping strands of a metabolism-resistant material around spherical particles, which are then dissolved in acid, leaving behind an empty container.

To fill the capsules, the scientists heat them in a solution that contains the desired drug compound. This makes them shrink and traps some of the solution and compound inside.

The loaded capsules are introduced into live cells by a technique known as electroporation - a tiny electric shock - which makes the cell walls permeable for micrometer-sized particles. The cells are unharmed by this treatment and retain the capsules.

In this experiment, the capsules were exposed to an infra-red laser beam that does not affect the cell but is picked up by nano-gold particles in the capsule walls, changing their structure and releasing the micro shuttle contents.

Prof Gleb Sukhorukov said: "This new technique could have many biological applications, including delivering DNA into cells for gene therapy. The capsules could also be filled in with magnetic particles that collect and extract miniscule samples from inside cells. Other applications could see patients needing internal medication after surgery being administered drugs without the need for further invasive procedures or hospital visits.

"However, there are still questions about how to direct the capsules to the right cells as well as finding a way to make capsules that are safe for human use. It is possible that we will see useful applications for this technology being tested in the next five years."


Contact: Simon Levey
Queen Mary, University of London

Related biology technology :

1. BioMaxx Systems Inc. Signs Engagement Letter With Alcofuel Technologies for Provision of an Ethanol Micro-Refinery
2. SportCoatings; The North American Booster Club Association (NABCA); the Coatings Specialist Group New Booster Program Goes High Tech With Invisible Antimicrobial Defense
3. Microchip Biotechnologies, Inc. Secures Exclusive License to Use New University of Alberta Technology for Developing Microfluidic Devices
4. Micromet, Inc. to Present at the Sal. Oppenheim 2nd European Healthcare Conference
5. Microfluidic chambers advance the science of growing neurons
6. Quick microchip test for dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria
7. GenoLogics Geneus Achieves GeneChip-compatible(TM) Status with the Affymetrix GeneChip(R) Microarray Platform
8. NYU Medical Center Collaborates With Rosetta Genomics to Develop a microRNA-Based Diagnostic Test for Melanoma
9. CeloNova BioSciences Announces Worlds First Line of Fully Color-Coded Embolic Particles at CIRSE: Embozene(TM) Color-Advanced Microspheres
10. New DNA-based technique for assembly of nano- and micro-sized particles
11. Microbia and Forest Laboratories Announce Linaclotide Co-Development and Co-Marketing Collaboration
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler ... of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , ... industrial engineering, was today awarded as one of ... of the world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks ... for the real world in the nutrition, health ... work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled ... cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous ... (CTCs). The new test has already been incorporated ... multiple cancer types. Over 230 clinical ... response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche ... with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article ... Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Paris Police Prefecture ... to ensure the safety of people and operations in several ... tournament Teleste, an international technology group specialised in ... that its video security solution will be utilised by ... safety across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled for ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):