Nanofibers – smart drug carriers

Researchers from the Center for Polymer and Carbon Materials of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Medical University of Silesia have developed a new drug delivery system. It is based on nanofiber drugs, which are released in a controlled manner.

This system allows you to control the time in which the substance is released after administration of the drug and make sure that the drug reaches only diseased tissues. As a result, the medicine “bypasses” other areas of the body, focusing only on the problem.

  – Using the method of electrospinning polymer solutions, we produce micro- and nanofibers, from which a nonwoven fabric is formed. This method consists in the production of thin fibers using electric field, which – intertwined in a random way – form a nanomaterial – explains Jakub Włodarczyk from the PAS Center for Polymer and Carbon Materials.

This produces a sheet that, when observed by the naked eye, resembles a sheet of paper or canvas. However, the material is composed of such tiny elements that can be viewed only under electron microscope.

Controlled release

In order to achieve the intended result, a material consisting of the drug-containing microfibers and polymer nanofibers is fabricated. The drug is entrapped into hydrophobic polymers (water-resistant polymers) that protect it from quick decomposition within the body. Thanks to this, they can dissolve slowly and be delivered over extended periods of time (a year) or a very short time (a few hours).

Importantly, it is possible to prepare the mixture in such a way that the therapeutic substances are delivered only to a specific area in the body. So that, for example, drugs that can harm healthy cells do not decompose before they reach their target.

At present, it is not yet known when nanofiber based drug delivery system will come into wider use.

– It is still necessary to conduct many preclinical studies to gain 100% certainty of its safety. So far, we have successfully completed the stage of laboratory tests. The rate of drug release was tested in conditions simulating the human body, as well as on cells – explains Jakub Włodarczyk.

Source of information: PAS Center for Polymer and Carbon Materials