Unlike other drug delivery gels that need to be surgically implanted, a new nanogel technology could deliver time-released drugs via a simple injection.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a hydrogel consisting of a mesh network made from polymer nanoparticles that are entwined with strands of another polymer, such as cellulose.
The result, researchers say, is a gel that is flexible enough to be pushed through a syringe needle without damaging the time-release aspects of the gel once it's in the body.
And because two different materials are initially used to create the gel, two different time-released drugs can be delivered at the same time.
"Now you have a gel that can change shape when you apply stress to it, and then, importantly, it can re-heal when you relax those forces. That allows you to squeeze it through a syringe or a needle and get it into the body without surgery,” said Mark Tibbitt, a researcher at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, in a press release.