04-Jan-2006 - American Chemical Society (ACS)

New 'self-exploding' microcapsules could take sting out of drug delivery

Belgian chemists have developed "self-exploding" microcapsules that could one day precisely release drugs and vaccines inside the human body weeks or even months after injection. The study, by researchers at Ghent University and the Universite Catholique de Louvain, is scheduled to appear in the American Chemical Society's journal Biomacromolecules.

Unlike some other microcapsules, which release their drug cargo only when exposed to ultrasonic waves or another external trigger, the new system relies on internal mechanisms to do the same job. Each of the new microparticles features a biodegradable gel core that is surrounded by a lipid membrane. As the gel biodegrades, pressure builds up in the membrane. Eventually the microcapsule ruptures, releasing the medication.

The system, the researchers note, could change how some vaccines are administered. Instead of an initial injection followed by a series of boosters, for instance, certain vaccines could be given in a single shot with the "booster" microcapsules timed to rupture at appropriate intervals.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • vaccines
  • pressure
  • Ghent University
  • drug delivery
  • American Chemical Society
More about American Chemical Society
  • News

    Can ionic liquids transform chemistry?

    Table salt is a commonplace ingredient in the kitchen, but a different kind of salt is at the forefront of chemistry innovation. Low-temperature molten salts known as ionic liquids are said to be "greener" and safer than traditional solvents. According to an article in Chemical & Engineerin ... more

    A new 'cool' blue

    Throughout history, people have sought vibrant blue pigments. The Egyptians and Babylonians used lapis lazuli 6,000 years ago. In 1802, a French chemist synthesized cobalt blue. More recently, in 2009 scientists discovered YInMn Blue, otherwise known as "Oregon Blue." But most of these pigm ... more

    4D imaging with liquid crystal microlenses

    Most images captured by a camera lens are flat and two dimensional. Increasingly, 3D imaging technologies are providing the crucial context of depth for scientific and medical applications. 4D imaging, which adds information on light polarization, could open up even more possibilities, but ... more

  • Videos

    What Makes Rubber Rubbery?

    Reactions is looking at sports science today. Sports balls owe their reliability to an unusual polymer. Learn about the chemistry of rubber the all-star’s best friend! more

    Dragon's Blood Could Save Your Life

    This week Reactions is looking at chemistry in bizarre places that could save your life. The science within the blood of the Komodo dragon or in a horseshoe crab can help with antibiotic resistance. But it doesn't end there, so we're taking a closer look at other wild places in nature that ... more

    Why is Olive Oil Awesome?

    Whether you sop it up with bread or use it to boost your cooking, olive oil is awesome. But a lot of chemistry goes on in that bottle that can make or break a product. Take the “extra virgin” standard: Chemistry tells us that a higher free-fatty-acid content leads to a lower grade, less tas ... more

More about Ghent University