Discovery will impact design of drug delivery systems at the molecular level | 5/17/2018 | Staff
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Researchers at Houston Methodist and Rice University have made a discovery that will impact the design of not only drug delivery systems, but also the development of newer applications in water filtration and energy production.

They made this discovery while investigating how the drug molecules in solution travel through a nanochannel drug-delivery system developed by Alessandro Grattoni, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Nanomedicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Team - Findings - Article - Behaviors - Transport

The team's findings are described in an article titled "Unexpected behaviors in molecular transport through size-controlled nanochannels down to the ultra-nanoscale" in Nature Communications, a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to publishing research in the biological, physical and chemical sciences.

This nanochannel delivery system (nDS), designed by Grattoni and Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and colleagues, is a membrane that acts as a filter with hundreds of thousands of uniform nanoscale channels. The membrane is created with semiconductor technologies commonly adopted for fabricating computer microchips.

Lab - Systems - Drug - Delivery - Diseases

"Our lab develops implantable systems for controlled drug delivery to treat chronic diseases over extended periods of time," said Grattoni, the lead author. "These implants use silicon nanofluidic membranes, each of which has a precise number of identical nanochannels."

This leading-edge membrane technology studied at Houston Methodist presents key properties for use in a drug-delivery implant—mechanical robustness, biochemical inertness and high-density of nanochannels that allow drug delivery at clinical doses from a tiny membrane.

Channels - Way - Drug - Travels - Grattoni

"We are interested in better understanding what happens inside these channels and in what way the drug travels across them," Grattoni said. "Particularly, we are focusing on the physics that underlies the transport across these membranes. This insight could additionally be useful in the extraction of natural gas, renewable energy production, and in fluid and water filtration."

Grattoni says there are many different applications for this technology. In the context of drug delivery,...
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