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

    Biofuels from the brewery?

    Home brewing enthusiasts and major manufacturers alike experience the same result of the beer-making process: mounds of leftover grain. Once all the flavor has been extracted from barley and other grains, what's left is a protein- and fiber-rich powder that is typically used in cattle feed ... more

    Double-duty catalyst generates hydrogen fuel while cleaning up wastewater

    Hydrogen is a pollution-free energy source when it's extracted from water using sunlight instead of fossil fuels. But current strategies for "splitting" or breaking apart water molecules with catalysts and light require the introduction of chemical additives to expedite the process. Now, re ... more

    Termite gut microbes could aid biofuel production

    Wheat straw, the dried stalks left over from grain production, is a potential source of biofuels and commodity chemicals. But before straw can be converted to useful products by biorefineries, the polymers that make it up must be broken down into their building blocks. Now, researchers repo ... 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
  • News

    Support drives fate of protected gold nanoclusters as catalysts

    In collaboration with experimentalists from Ghent University, Belgium and Utrecht University, Netherlands, researchers at the Nanoscience Center (NSC) at the University of Jyväskylä, have recently discovered that the choice of a support material for model catalysts, made from gold nanoclust ... more

    Glowing material remembers where it was pressed

    Think of the blade of a wind turbine or a part of an airplane. After a heavy storm, you want to investigate whether it has been hit by hail stones or loaded beyond a certain threshold, even if no clear damage is visible. Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium have developed a pressure ... more

    Green light for a new generation of dynamic materials

    Developing synthetic materials that are as dynamic as those found in nature, with reversibly changing properties and which could be used in manufacturing, recycling and other applications, is a strong focus for scientists. In a world-first, researchers from Queensland University of Technolo ... more