Capsule for Long-Term Drug Delivery Could Help Eliminate Malaria
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a new drug capsule that remains in the stomach for up to two weeks after being swallowed, gradually releasing its drug payload. This type of drug delivery could replace inconvenient regimens that require repeated doses, which would help to overcome one of the major obstacles to treating and potentially eliminating diseases such as malaria. "Until now, oral drugs would almost never last for more than a day," says MIT professor Robert Langer. "This really opens the door to ultra-long-lasting oral systems, which could have an effect on all kinds of diseases, such as Alzheimer's or mental health disorders." The team designed a star-shaped structure with six arms that can be folded inward and encased in a smooth capsule. Drug molecules are loaded into the arms, which are made of a rigid polymer called polycaprolactone. Each arm is attached to a rubber-like core by a linker that is designed to eventually break down.