Researchers Developed New Technology to Transport Drugs to Specific Targets

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Researchers developed a novel method through which drugs can be transported to specific targets, according to a study published on August 1, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. This new technology that utilized red blood cells (RBCs) for shuttling of nano-scale drug carriers known as RBC-hitchhiking (RH) was found to increase the concentration of drugs send precisely to selected organs, when tested on animal models. A large number of drugs fail to be effective, as they spread throughout the body and does not target the specific organ, thereby causing intolerable side effects.

The study conducted by the researchers found that RH carriers are capable of safely transporting nano-scale carriers of drugs to specific organs by targeted placement of intravascular catheters, in mice, pigs, and in ex vivo human lungs, without resulting in toxicities of RBCs or any organ.

Vladimir Muzykantov, a professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, said,  “Red blood cells are a particularly attractive carrier due to their biocompatibility and known safety in transfusions. In just a few short years since we began this work, we are now on the brink of mapping out ways to test it in clinical trials.”

The research team observed that the drug uptake in the lungs was increased by 40-fold on injecting the RH drug carriers intravenously when compared to the absorption of freely circulating drug carriers in blood. Furthermore, 10 percent of the injected dose is delivered to the brain when the RH drug carriers are injected into the carotid artery. This drug delivery technology can be possibly used for the treatment of acute strokes, which is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

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