Scientists develop new gel-based drug delivery system

Tokyo: Japanese scientists have developed a new drug-delivery gel that releases the drug in response to pressure applied by the patient, Science Daily reports.

A research group headed by Katsuhiko Ariga, principal investigator, Kohsaku Kawakami, scientist, and Hironori Izawa, a post-doctoral researcher (currently assistant professor, Tottori University) of the NIMS International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) succeeded in developing a gel material which is capable of releasing drugs in response to pressure applied.

Drugs are generally taken by oral administration, injection, etc. However, the conventional methods may cause side effects and inconvenience. Although stimuli-responsive drug delivery systems are an effective technique that takes care of such problems, a special device is necessary in order to apply the stimulus.

The MANA research group developed a gel material envisioning a new drug administration method in which the drug is released when the patient applies manual pressure to the gel, reports Science Daily.

Using samples of the gel containing the anti-emetic drug ondansetron, the researchers confirmed that the drug was released when stimulus mimicking finger-pressure by the patient was applied, and found that this effect was maintained for at least three days.

Oral administration of drugs is difficult for patients experiencing nausea during cancer chemotherapy. If the material is introduced under the skin, it is expected to release the drug simply by pressing or rubbing it.

It will also be possible for patients to administer drugs under any environment at their own intention.

For relief from cancer pain, hay fever, or asthma, patients may need to administer drugs quickly. Those are among the situations when this material offers an extremely convenient new dosing strategy.