Researchers investigate potential of nano-sand

A team of researchers at the University of South Australia are using nanoparticles of silica to create long-lasting creams and cosmetics that control the release of drugs through specific layers of the skin.

Skin creams are made of emulsions--tiny droplets of oily compounds dispersed in water, typically created using surfactants or detergents, but Nasrin Ghouchi-Eskandar from UniSA's Ian Wark Research Institute and her colleagues have developed emulsions in which silica nanoparticles coat the droplets instead. Ghouchi-Eskandar says that the technology allows for greater control over the delivery of drugs through the skin than current methods.

"Coating the tiny emulsion droplets with silica increases the stability of the mixture, and makes it less likely that the active compounds inside will degrade or be released until we want it to happen," Ghouchi-Eskandar says in a statement. "These are two significant challenges for formulation scientists."

"Using our method we found that, from a clinical point of view, drug delivery can be improved by adjusting release through the thickness of the coating. We can prepare both fast release, and slow or controlled release delivery systems," she adds.

The researchers are now seeking commercial partners to deliver the technology to market.

 - read the press release