Researchers Offer New Way to Deliver Drugs Through the Skin

Sunday, June 23, 2019 - 11:31

MIT researchers have designed and created a new method to create very tiny droplets of one liquid suspended within another liquid, known as nanoemulsions.

According to Phys.org, MIT researchers also found a way to easily convert the liquid nanoemulsions to a gel when they reach body temperature (37 degrees Celsius), which could be useful for developing materials that can deliver medication when rubbed on the skin or injected into the body.

The study has been released in the June 21 issue of Nature Communications, to demonstrate the emulsions' potential usefulness for delivering drugs, the researchers showed that they could incorporate ibuprofen into the droplets.

Seyed Meysam Hashemnejad, a former MIT postdoc, is the first author of the study. Other authors include former postdoc Abu Zayed Badruddoza, L'Oréal senior scientist Brady Zarket, and former MIT summer research intern Carlos Ricardo Castaneda.

The researchers found that they could tune the properties of the gels, including the temperature at which the material becomes a gel, by changing the size of the emulsion droplets and the concentration and structure of the Pluronics that they added to the emulsion. They can also alter traits such as elasticity and yield stress, which is a measure of how much force is needed to spread the gel.

Such products could be useful for delivering topical medications to help heal burns or other types of injuries, or could be injected to form a "drug depot" that would solidify inside the body and release drugs over an extended period of time.

For cosmetic applications, this approach could be used to create moisturizers or other products that are more shelf-stable and feel smoother on the skin.

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