Issue Date: February 6, 2012
Hydrophobic Mesh Slows Drug Release
A superhydrophobic polymeric mesh, in which the displacement of air slows the progress of infiltrating water, has been designed as a new type of slow-release drug delivery system (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja211148a). A team led by Boston University’s Mark W. Grinstaff used an electrospinning technique to create the mesh from hydroxycaproic acid, glycerol, and stearic acid. The mesh, which has an extremely high surface area and resembles a jumble of spaghetti, can be loaded with a drug. Air serves as a barrier to help control how fast water seeps through the mesh, slowing down drug release to weeks. The researchers tested the concept by loading the mesh with SN-38, the active form of the cancer drug irinotecan. They placed the loaded mesh in a soup of biologically relevant compounds, such as albumin, to see how a biological environment might affect the drug’s release rate. They then added human lung cancer cells to the mix and found that the drug killed the cancer cells slowly and continuously over several weeks.
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