In tests in animals, the researchers used this capsule to deliver either insulin or vancomycin, a large peptide antibiotic that is used to treat a broad range of infections, including skin infections as well as infections affecting orthopedic implants. With the capsule, the researchers found that they could deliver 20 to 40 times more drug than a similar capsule without the tunneling mechanism. Once the drug is released from the capsule, the capsule itself passes through the digestive tract on its own. The researchers found no sign of inflammation or irritation in the digestive tract after the capsule passed through, and they also observed that the mucus layer reforms within a few hours after being displaced by the capsule.
Another approach that some researchers have used to enhance oral delivery of drugs is to give them along with additional drugs that help them cross through the intestinal tissue. However, these enhancers often only work with certain drugs. Because the MIT team’s new approach relies solely on mechanical disruptions to the mucus barrier, it could potentially be applied to a broader set of drugs, Traverso says. “Some of the chemical enhancers preferentially work with certain drug molecules,” he says. “Using mechanical methods of administration can potentially enable more drugs to have enhanced absorption.”
While the capsule used in this study released its payload in the small intestine, it could also be used to target the stomach or colon by changing the pH at which the gelatin coating dissolves. The researchers also plan to explore the possibility of delivering other protein drugs such as GLP1 receptor agonist, which is sometimes used to treat type 2 diabetes. The capsules could also be used to deliver topical drugs to treat ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory conditions by maximizing the local concentration of the drugs in the tissue to help treat the inflammation.
Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source: Healthcare in Europe