Indian-American develops way to deliver drugs at trouble spot (Lead)

August 21st, 2008 - 1:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) A team of researchers led by Indian-American Niren Murthy has developed biodegradable polymers or polyketals and their derivatives that may help improve therapy for lung injuries, liver failure and inflammatory bowel disease by delivering drugs, proteins or ribonucleic acid to the exact spot in the body.”The polyketal microparticles we developed are simply a vehicle to get the drugs inside the body to the diseased area as quickly as possible,” says Niren Murthy, assistant professor at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

“The major advantage is that they degrade into biocompatible compounds that don’t accumulate in a patient’s tissue or cause additional inflammation.

“We think these microparticles are going to be fantastic for oral drug delivery because they can survive the stomach conditions before they release their contents in the intestines,” noted Murthy, who leads the group that has developed the polyketals.

The new polymer has the advantage of stability in both acids and bases. It degrades only in the presence of reactive oxygen species, which are present in and around inflamed tissue.

Cell culture experiments have demonstrated that the microparticles degraded more rapidly in cells that overproduced superoxide, a reactive oxygen compound.

The researchers are currently collaborating with Didier Merlin, at the Emory University, to investigate loading these polyketals with therapeutics to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

Murthy’s group is also examining the use of polyketals to treat acute liver failure - a condition when the liver stops functioning because macrophages in the liver create reactive oxygen species.

“Patients with acute liver failure need drugs as soon as possible or else they’ll die,” said Murthy. “We’ve tailored the polyketal’s hydrolysis rates to deliver the drug in one or two days.”

Nick Crisp, professor of microbiology at the University of Rochester Medical Centre and Robert Pierce at Schering-Plough Biopharma Schering-Plough Biopharma are collaborating in the project.

Georgia Tech, Emory and the University of Rochester have filed three patent applications on the polyketal drug delivery system.

Details about the polyketals were presented Aug 18-20 at the 236th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia.

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