New oral nanomed could deliver insulin, cancer drugs via noncompetitive transport

Researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a nano-sized delivery system that could help bring injected treatments such as insulin into the oral realm, making the regimen easier on the patient and clinician.

According to the university, normal injected meds, from insulin to cancer drugs, make use of ligands that compete with the body’s own ligands. But the new vehicles achieved a noncompetitive transport by using gamboric acid, prompting a patient’s cells to still take up the particle even if it already has enough of its own ligands and would normally reject more.

With this stealthier mode of transport, the nanoparticles can cross the intestinal barrier, making them ideal for oral treatments. When packed with insulin--a peptide that would break down quickly in the gut and rendered ineffective--the nanoparticle acts as a protective barrier to ferry the treatment past the intestinal wall. And because the method is noncompetitive with the body’s own cells, the same can be done with cancer treatments or meds that need to cross the blood-brain barrier.

“The way we put these things together is completely novel,” lead researcher Ravikumar Majeti said. “This approach enables the development of carrier systems that have no equivalent in the world of competitive ligands.”

- read more from Texas A&M

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