Recently, Luo Zhi’s research group, associate professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Southern University of Science and Technology, published the latest research results in the journal Scientific Translational Medicine. Inspired by the structure of octopus tentacle suction cups, the research team developed an innovative oral patch technology that entered the clinical translation stage.
In recent years, more and more new drugs have been developed for the treatment of intractable diseases, such as peptides, mRNA, monoclonal antibodies, etc. These biomacromolecular drugs play an increasingly important role in the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, viral infections and other diseases. However, oral delivery of peptides and proteins presents multiple challenges, such as gastrointestinal instability, low bioavailability, and hepatic first-pass effects.
These challenges not only limit the effectiveness of macromolecule drugs in clinical applications, but also affect patient compliance and quality of life due to their complex and inconvenient delivery methods, such as subcutaneous injection. Therefore, the development of novel oral delivery systems for peptide drugs is of critical importance.
In this study, the research team developed a biosuction patch of biomimetic octopus suction cups that delivers macromolecular drugs through mechanical deformation of the oral mucosa, which can significantly promote the transmembrane absorption of drugs by mechanically stretching the oral mucosa and binding to penetration enhancers.
Bionic octopus suction cup biosuction patch for delivering macromolecular drugs Photo courtesy of the scientific research team
This design mimics the muscle arrangement of octopus suction cups, achieving stable and efficient adhesion, stretching soft tissues with a force of about 100 kPa, thereby altering the cell structure and lipid barrier of the mucosa and promoting the diffusion of drugs. The patch can also be loaded with various auxiliary agents, including penetration enhancers, sustained release agents, etc., to achieve controlled release of drugs. This synergy between machinery and chemistry is a new class of drug delivery mechanisms that can greatly improve the bioavailability of macromolecule drugs.
After a series of rigorous experimental validations, including preclinical studies in beagles and 40 healthy human trial participants, the research team confirmed that the suction cup-based patch has a significant effect in improving drug bioavailability. For example, the bioavailability of desmopressin delivered using the patch increased from 0.12% to 16.4%. “In human trials, most participants said they preferred to use the patch as a routine and cyclical method of administration compared to traditional injection methods. Luo Zhi introduced.
Luo Zhi said that in clinical trials, this patch technology has the potential to find widespread application in the treatment of diabetes, obesity and other diseases that rely on injection delivery. Due to its non-invasive nature, this mode of administration can improve patient adherence to treatment, leading to more effective treatment outcomes. Secondly, the development of this new delivery system can also promote the development of related drugs, promote innovation and optimization of pharmaceutical processes, and strengthen patent protection for innovative drugs. (Source: China Science News, Diao Wenhui)
Related paper information:https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.abq1887