Drugs that act like fat make oral delivery possible

Australian researchers have shown that a fat-based transport system can help oral drugs reach the bloodstream through the lymphatic system, bypassing the liver where they would normally have been broken down prematurely.

Dietary lipids are naturally assembled into small lipoproteins and delivered to the blood by the lymphatic system, which is responsible for metabolic action in the body. And so, by mimicking this process within an oral drug, scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science in Melbourne were able to make blood levels of the drug significantly higher.

In tests, researchers used testosterone to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system. Normally, testosterone would be broken down by the liver to protect the bloodstream and other organs from such hormones. But when a substance is needed to fight a disease, this is a hurdle to overcome.

After piggybacking the fat absorption pathway with what they call pro-drug technology, which allows absorption through the lymphatic system rather than the liver, testosterone levels in the blood climbed up to 90 times higher than current commercial products, according to a release.

The researchers published their findings in the European journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

“The advantage of our system is that drugs are shielded from degradation in the liver but are ultimately released when they reach their site of action,” lead author Chris Porter said, “ensuring that the drug given to the patient goes where it is supposed to go.”

- here's the release

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