Scientists design octopus-inspired patch to deliver drugs

Scientists design octopus-inspired patch to deliver drugs

The patch is stuck to the inside of the cheek and enables the delivery of medicines that would otherwise require a syringe

In initial trials on humans, the patch proved to be safe and tolerable, as the researchers from the federal technology institute ETH Zurich (ETH Zurich) wrote in the study published on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

To test their patch, the researchers loaded it with desmopressin, an approved diabetes drug for dogs, and stuck it on the oral mucosa, the lining or “skin” inside of the mouth, including cheeks and lips, of dogs. The patch stayed in the animals' mouths for three hours without falling off or causing irritation, the study showed. The effect of the drug was comparable to the effect when given in tablet form.

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The researchers then had 40 volunteers stick the patch to the inside of their cheeks for half an hour without medication while they talked, walked and rinsed their mouths. Most of the patches stuck. In addition, the subjects reported that they would prefer the patch over injections for daily, weekly or monthly treatment.

Further studies needed

According to the study, the patch could be suitable for insulin. Until now, diabetics have had to inject themselves with insulin several times a day. Other peptides and proteins can also only be administered by injection. Previous attempts to administer them via nasal sprays or microneedles showed only limited effectiveness, according to the study.

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Before the suction cup is used, however, further studies are needed to determine the safety of repeated treatment with it, according to the researchers.



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