Stopping the pain where it hurts the most

Stopping the pain where it hurts the most

Scientists use synchrotron to develop novel ibuprofen delivery methods for bones

An excruciatingly painful broken bone. Surgery. Recovery. Healing. You could take an anti-inflammatory drug, like ibuprofen for the pain, but it works more or less throughout the body, resulting in less pain-relief than you'd like.
 
Researchers from Western University are developing a drug carrier that would ensure the drugs needed to treat the pain are taken directly to the bones, providing better targeted treatment.
 
The group, led by Dr. Tsun-Kong Sham and PhD student Xiaoxuan Guo, in collaboration with Dr. Ying-Jie Zhu of the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to study how Calcium Silicate Hydrate (CSH) nanostructures interacted with ibuprofen. CSH is a relatively new chemical in medical research, valuable to bone disease treatment as a non-toxic bone component. Coupled with ibuprofen, it could also help relieve pain from fractures and bone surgery. 
 
Sham explained that "CSH is similar to a delivery truck while the ibuprofen is like the cargo." 
 
This kind of drug-delivery is an attractive route for medical innovation, with applications in cancer research, pain relief, and a variety of other pharmaceuticals. The ibuprofen-CSH research "provides some important hints about future design of drug carriers," said Sham.
 
The team needed to see just how well CSH could carry its cargo. Because of the porous structure of CSH, it could be loaded up with lots of ibuprofen — they just had to understand "the chemical interactions between IBU and CSH on the molecular level," said Sham.
 
Using synchrotron X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, Dr. Sham's team were able to study the interactions between the ibuprofen and its carrier on an atom-by-atom basis. The interactions show up as changes in the electronic structures, which the researchers could extrapolate to find out how fast the ibuprofen could be loaded and unloaded, and how that process happens. It's the drug-treatment equivalent of understanding the efficiency of a U-Haul.
 
The synchrotron research provided Guo a comprehensive and promising look at how ibuprofen gets loaded into CSH. The success of the procedure showed high ibuprofen carrying ability and "excellent sustained drug release behaviours" could lead to a world of new biomedical applications. 
 
What's more, the group is among the first to explore how XAS synchrotron techniques could be used in drug delivery research. They plan to explore loading and unloading in a variety of other drug-carrier combinations in the future. 
 
"We hope we have provided new opportunities to advance the knowledge of drug delivery, drug targeting and drug release using the powerful synchrotron radiation techniques at the Canadian Light Source," Sham said. 
 
The work was made possible by funding from NSERC, CRC, CFI, and OIT. The Canadian Light Source is supported by CFI, NSERC, NRC, CHIR, and the University of Saskatchewan. Research at Shanghai Institute of Ceramics is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51172260) and Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai (11nm0506600, 12ZR1452100). Assistance from Dr Richard B. Gardiner in Biotron gratefully appreciated.
About the CLS:
 
The Canadian Light Source is Canada's national centre for synchrotron research and a global centre of excellence in synchrotron science and its applications. Located on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, the CLS has hosted 1,700 researchers from academic institutions, government, and industry from 10 provinces and territories; delivered over 26,000 experimental shifts; received over 6,600 user visits; and provided a scientific service critical in over 1,000 scientific publications, since beginning operations in 2005.
 
CLS operations are funded by Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Western Economic Diversification Canada, National Research Council of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan.
 
Synchrotrons work by accelerating electrons in a tube at nearly the speed of light using powerful magnets and radio frequency waves. By manipulating the electrons, scientists can select different forms of very bright light using a spectrum of X-ray, infrared, and ultraviolet light to conduct experiments.
 
Synchrotrons are used to probe the structure of matter and analyze a host of physical, chemical, geological and biological processes. Information obtained by scientists can be used to help design new drugs, examine the structure of surfaces in order to develop more effective motor oils, build more powerful computer chips, develop new materials for safer medical implants, and help clean-up mining wastes, to name a few applications.
 
For more information visit the CLS website
For photos to accompany this story and more images from the CLS visit our Flickr gallery

 

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