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Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered a way of continuously and precisely dosing active agents using an oil-hydrogel mixture.
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered a way of continuously and precisely dosing active agents using an oil-hydrogel mixture, it has been revealed in a Feb. 20, 2020 press release.
Professor Job Boekhoven and his team were originally researching the origins of life, when making their discovery. “In our research work we experimented with oil droplets, among other things. We were especially interested in mechanisms that protect molecules from degradation. We found that unstable molecules that form oil droplets would survive much longer than molecules that cannot form droplets. In a sense, the droplets protect the molecules inside,” Boekhoven said in the press release.
The droplets were not completely impermeable and the researchers found that as a result of the reaction of some of the oil molecules with the surrounding water, the droplets actually started to slowly and continuously reduce in mass until eventually disappearing. It was this action that led Boekhoven and his team to use “active droplets” for drug dosing.
“We found that the droplets continuously release the drug while they get smaller and smaller. The consequence is that over the entire release period, the drug release rate remains constant,” added Boekhoven in the press release. “The power of this approach lies in its simplicity. You need only three components: droplets made of a hydrolyzable oil, a drug that partitions in the oil, and a hydrogel that stabilizes the position of the droplets.”
Furthermore, the droplets can be loaded with doses of differing sizes so that administration of the active substance occurs at a predetermined rate. More information on this research can be found on the TUM’s website.
A patent application has been filed for the oil-hydrogel material.