Injectable Nanotech Gel Delivers Drugs Consistently for Days or Weeks
Scientists have unveiled a new polymer and nanoparticle gel that can be injected into a patient to deliver a consistent supply of therapeutic drugs. The hydrogel material, created by biotechnology and materials science researchers at MIT, can be loaded with two different drugs at the same time and release them into the body over days or weeks.
The novel interaction between two polymers and nanoparticles in the gel allow it to flow like a liquid when pressure is applied through the syringe and then return to a firmer state once injected. This allows the gel to stay in place so its payload can be delivered directly to the tissues that need it. The material’s creators envision it being injected into the eye to stop macular degeneration, into the heart to repair damaged tissue after a heart attack and into voids left after tumor removal surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
“Now you have a gel that can change shape when you apply stress to it, and then, importantly, it can re-heal when you relax those forces,” said Mark Tibbitt, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. “That allows you to squeeze it through a syringe or a needle and get it into the body without surgery.”