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A drug with three active ingredients that are released in sequence at specific times is under development by a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). What was once a pharmacologist's dream is now much closer to reality. With a combination of hydrogels and artificial DNA, nanoparticles can be released in sequence under conditions similar to those in the human body.
It is becoming much more common for patients to be treated with several medications taken at fixed intervals—a limitation that makes everyday life difficult for patients and increases the risk of missed doses.
Oliver - Lieleg - Professor - Biomechanics - Member
Oliver Lieleg, a professor of biomechanics and a member of the Munich School of BioEngineering at TUM, and doctoral candidate Ceren Kimna have now developed a process that could serve as the basis for medications containing several active ingredients that reliably releases them in a pre-defined sequence at specified times. "For example, an ointment applied to a surgical incision could release pain medication first, followed by an anti-inflammatory drug and then a drug to reduce swelling," explains Oliver Lieleg.
"Ointments or creams releasing their active ingredients with a time delay are not new in themselves," says Oliver Lieleg. With the drugs currently in use, however, there is no guarantee that two or more active ingredients will not be released into the organism simultaneously.
Principle - Idea - Oliver - Lieleg - Ceren
To test the principle behind their idea, Oliver Lieleg and Ceren Kimna used nanometer-sized silver, iron oxide and gold particles embedded in a hydrogel. They used a spectroscopic method to track the exit of the particles from the gel. The particles selected by the researchers have similar motion characteristics within the gel to the particles used to transport real active ingredients, but are easier and cheaper to make.
The special ingredient controlling the nanoparticles is artificial DNA. In nature, DNA is above all the carrier...
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