Devices that will help enhance drug delivery in the gut are being developed by an Indian-origin scientist from the University of California, San Francisco.
Many drugs like insulin have to be injected and cannot be taken orally as they are broken down in the stomach and the intestines.
However, Tejal A. Desai and a Bay-area biotechnology company are together making devices that will boost the "oral availability" of drugs.
Desai has made devices with spiny beads filled with drugs. These spines are actually silicon nanowires, which stick to the tiny, hair-like cilia that cover cells in the gut, releasing the drugs there.
Drugs released in one spot have a better chance of diffusing into the bloodstream.
Desai is now trying to improve the adhesive capacity of the nanowires.
Her laboratory has conducted a series of toxicity tests with the beads, and they now plan to find how well these can carry proteins, peptides, and other macromolecules that are generally not taken as oral drugs.ccording to Desai the method might also be used for delivering drugs to other parts of the body where surface cells have cilia, like the insides of the nose, lungs, or vagina.