Researchers at University of Pittsburgh are reporting the development of a new material based on graphene oxide that can be electrically triggered to release an anti-inflammatory drug on demand.
The graphene oxide nanocomposite had the drug embedded within its scaffolding and then itself embedded inside an electrically conducting polymer pouch. An electrode ran to the polymer, which, when energized with electrical current, released its drug payload in a controlled fashion. The team also showed that the rate of release was linear to the voltage applied and that the graphene oxide can be fashioned in different ways to allow for a variety of options like different payload quantities, rates of release, and maybe even automatic delivery of a drug when a disease biomarker is detected.
From the study abstract:
In vitro cell culture experiments demonstrate that the released drug retains its bioactivity and that no toxic byproducts leach from the film during electrical stimulation. Decreasing the size and thickness of the GO nanosheets, by means of ultrasonication treatment prior to deposition into the nanocomposite, alters the film morphology, drug load, and release profile, creating an opportunity to fine-tune the properties of the drug delivery system to meet a variety of therapeutic needs. The high level of temporal control and dosage flexibility provided by the electrically controlled GO nanocomposite drug delivery platform make it an exciting candidate for on-demand drug delivery.