Armor Enhances Drug Delivery

February 4, 2011
Stephanie Sutton
Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

Taking inspiration from nature, researchers have devised a way of giving drug-bearing polymer vesicles armored protection that could enhance drug delivery.

Taking inspiration from nature, researchers have devised a way of giving drug-bearing polymer vesicles ‘armored protection’ that could enhance drug delivery.

The researchers, based at the UK’s University of Warwick, experimented with covering polymer vesicles with a variety of nanoparticle layers that offer different benefits. For instance, a layer of gelatin-like polymer can help the vesicles to avoid the body’s defenses during drug release. Another layer or ‘armor’ type comprised highly regular, packed microscopic polystyrene balls, which enable the researchers to design a vesicle with a permeable reinforced barrier for drug release, as a result of the crystalline-like ordered structure of the polystyrene balls.

Advances in polymerization have led to a surge in vesicles made from polymer molecules, which have interesting chemical and physical properties that make them good candidates for drug delivery vehicles.

In a statement, Stefan Bon, Associate Professor and Lead researcher on the University of Warwick team, said: “We took our inspiration from nature, in how it adds protection and mechanical strength in certain classes of cells and organisms”. He added, “In addition to the mechanical strength provided by the cytoskeleton of the cell, plants, fungi, and certain bacteria have an additional cell wall as outermost boundary.”

The research has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.