Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new drug capsule with a robotic cap for improved drug delivery.
Because large-protein drugs generally cannot pass through the mucus barrier that lines the digestive tract, insulin and most other “biologic drugs” with proteins or nucleic acids must be injected or administered in a hospital.
However, the researchers believe the new drug capsule developed at MIT could one day replace those injections. It features a spinning robotic cap that helps it tunnel through the mucus barrier when it reaches the small intestine. Thus, drugs carried by the capsule can pass into the cells lining the intestine.
A study of the capsule in Science Robotics suggests that the approach could deliver insulin as well as vancomycin, an antibiotic peptide that currently has to be injected.
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