New drug administration system to speed delivery time

SRI International has received a patent for a bioadhesive drug delivery system that uses the human body's mucous membranes to enable enhanced release of drugs through a needle-free option.

SRI's new system utilizes gels for drug delivery, which allows for release times that are much longer than those compared to alternative delivery methods such as sprays or liquids.

The transmucosal delivery avoids passing the drugs through the gastrointestinal tract and "first pass liver metabolism," which can cause only a small portion of a drug to reach the desired targets in the body. Transmucosal administration, done by nebulizers or bottles, can also aid in improving patient compliance.

The new delivery system uses a two-component polymeric solution with one responsive to pH and the other to temperature. When mixed and applied, the two components form an adhesive gel that attaches to the mucosa, allowing the drug to be released.

"This needle-free system can be used for drug delivery in any environment, even in locations where sterile medical supplies are unavailable," Gita Shankar, Ph.D., director of formulations research and delivery at SRI and an inventor of the system, said. "Offering this option to patients can increase access to safe, effective medical care for a wide variety of conditions."

The new bioadhesive drug deliver system's development was funded in part by a National Institutes of Health Grant to develop a nasal formulation for anthrax antigens that would be suitable for mass immunization during a bioterror attack.

The transmucosal delivery system is also being developed as a drug delivery system for the delivery of therapeutics to combat chemical warfare agents.

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