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Nanosponge drug delivery system more effective than direct injection
Date:6/2/2010

" says Harth. The backbone is a long length of polyester. It is mixed in solution with small molecules called cross-linkers that act like tiny grappling hooks to fasten different parts of the polymer together. The net effect is to form spherically shaped particles filled with cavities where drug molecules can be stored. The polyester is biodegradable, so it breaks down gradually in the body. As it does, it releases the drug it is carrying in a predictable fashion.

"Predictable release is one of the major advantages of this system compared to other nanoparticle delivery systems under development," says Harth. When they reach their target, many other systems unload most of their drug in a rapid and uncontrollable fashion. This is called the burst effect and makes it difficult to determine effective dosage levels.

Another major advantage is that the nanosponge particles are soluble in water. Encapsulating the anti-cancer drug in the nanosponge allows the use of hydrophobic drugs that do not dissolve readily in water. Currently, these drugs must be mixed with another chemical, called an adjuvant reagent, that reduces the efficacy of the drug and can have adverse side-effects.

It is also possible to control the size of nanosponge particles. By varying the proportion of cross-linker to polymer, the nanosponge particles can be made larger or smaller. This is important because research has shown that drug delivery systems work best when they are smaller than 100 nanometers, about the depth of the pits on the surface of a compact disc. The nanosponge particles used in the current study were 50 nanometers in size. "The relationship between particle size and the effectiveness of these drug delivery systems is the subject of active investigation," says Harth.

The other major advantage of Harth's system is the simple chemistry required. The researchers have developed simple, high-yield "click chemistry" methods for making the nanosponge pa
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Contact: David F. Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert  

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