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Tiny silica bottles filled with medicine and a special temperature-sensitive material could be used for drug delivery to kill malignant cells only in certain parts of the body, according to a study published recently by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The research team devised a way to create silica-based hollow spheres around 200 nanometers in size, each with one small hole in the surface that could enable the spheres to encapsulate a wide range of payloads to be released later at certain temperatures only.
Study - June - Journal - Angewandte - Chemie
In the study, which was published on June 4 in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the researchers describe packing the spheres with a mixture of fatty acids, a near-infrared dye, and an anticancer drug. The fatty acids remain solid at human body temperature but melt a few degrees above. When an infrared laser is absorbed by the dye, the fatty acids will be quickly melted to release the therapeutic drug.
"This new method could allow infusion therapies to target specific parts of the body and potentially negating certain side effects because the medicine is released only where there's an elevated temperature," said Younan Xia, professor and Brock Family Chair in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "The rest of the drug remains encapsulated by the solid fatty acids inside the bottles, which are biocompatible and biodegradable."
Researchers - Size - Hole - Nanocapsules - Payloads
The researchers also showed that the size of the hole could be changed, enabling nanocapsules that release their payloads at different rates.
"This approach holds great promise for medical applications that require drugs to be released in a controlled fashion and has advantages over other methods of controlled drug release," Xia said.
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