Microscale fibers may have many drug-delivery uses

Drug delivery researchers are probing the depths of nanotechnology. However, researchers at New York University have shown that the maxim "bigger is better" can be true in the drug-delivery world as well, due to the development of drug delivering fibers that are the diameter of spider silk.

The fibers continued to self-assemble when incubated in the cancer therapeutic curcumin--found in the spice turmeric--growing in diameter to an unexpected, or even unprecedented degree, NYU says.

"A microscale fiber that is capable of delivering a small molecule, whether it be a therapeutic compound or other material, is a major step forward," said NYU professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Jin Kim Montclare, in a university statement

Precisely calibrated fibers are already used in tissue engineering and biosensors. The researchers say the structure they developed has many drug delivery applications. The fibers can bind to hydrophobic small molecules, making them well suited to deliver drugs that don't perform well when exposed to water.

Next, the NYU researchers plan to use their method to develop even larger fibers. "It's even possible to imagine generating hair out of cell assembly," Montclare said in the news release.

More details about the research were published in the journal Biomacromolecules.

- read the release
- here's the paper abstract