A new pill designed to attach to the gastrointestinal lining and release its contents slowly has been developed by researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Engineered according to the principles of a Janus device, the new pill has two distinct sides: a mucoadhesive side and an omniphobic side. The former adheres to mucosal surfaces, while the latter repels liquids and food, thereby resisting detachment from the gastrointestinal mucosa. Carbopol, a polymer used commercially as a stabilizer/thickener, comprises the mucoadhesive side of the pill, whereas microtextured fluorinated cellulose acetate comprises the omniphobic side. Drugs can be incorporated into the cellulose acetate itself or embedded between the two layers of the pill.
Although the use of mucoadhesives has been previously explored as a strategy for slow-release drugs in the gastrointestinal system, this novel dual-sided pill is unique in that it prevents liquid and food in the stomach from sticking to the pill and drawing it away from the mucosal lining before the drug is fully released. Frequently dosed drugs, such as antibiotics, are ideal candidates for extended-release, which may reduce the frequency of dosing, thereby improving patient compliance.
To date, the researchers have demonstrated proof of principle in an ex vivo model, with additional in vivo studies planned in the near future.
Study in Advanced Healthcare Materials: A Janus Mucoadhesive and Omniphobic Device for Gastrointestinal Retention
Original report: MIT