Innovative Druge Delivery System Inspired by Octopus Suckers Shown Off
A new drug delivery system based on the suckers lining octopuses’ tentacles has been shown off in a new study. This innovative technology, developed by a team of Chinese and Swiss researchers, has the potential to revolutionize drug administration.
The Challenge of Drug Delivery
Once a new drug has been identified and its impact on a target in the body has been proven, scientists face the challenge of delivering the drug effectively. Many drugs have unstable chemical structures that require injections, limiting their use to clinical settings or causing discomfort for patients. Existing bioengineering solutions, such as microneedle patches and intranasal sprays, often fall short in real-world settings due to complexity or inefficiency.
Inspired by Nature: The Octopus Sucker Approach
Zhi Luo, an associate professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzen, and his colleagues have designed a novel drug delivery approach, taking inspiration from octopus suckers. Consequently, the team developed a drug delivery “patch” that closely mimics both the structure and function of octopus suckers. As a result, this innovative patch can be loaded with a specified drug dose and securely adheres to the inside of the cheek, thereby enabling controlled release into the body.
How It Works
The octopus sucker-inspired patch is filled with desmopressin, a synthetic analog of the hormone vasopressin. In animal models (dogs), the patch effectively delivered the drug throughout the body, comparable to tablet formulations. The patch remained attached to the inside of dogs’ mouths for up to three hours without causing irritation or falling off.
Human Trials: Promising Results
The researchers conducted a small-scale trial involving 40 healthy human volunteers. Participants wore the patch for 30 minutes while talking and rinsing their mouths. Although five patches fell off due to incorrect placement, more than 70% of volunteers expressed a preference for using the patch over injections for daily and weekly drug administration.
The researchers carried out a small-scale trial with 40 healthy human volunteers. Participants wore the patch for 30 minutes while they talked and rinsed their mouths. Despite five patches falling off due to incorrect placement, over 70% of volunteers voiced a preference for using the patch for daily and weekly drug administration, rather than opting for injections.
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