A new study from the University of Michigan describes one of the first entirely new drug delivery microencapsulation approaches in decades.

Microencapsulation in biodegradable polymers allows drugs such as peptide therapeutics to be released over time in the body.

Peptides are molecules in the body that are composed of short chains of amino acids, and include messengers, growth factors and well-known hormones such as insulin. Because of their larger size and structure, peptide drugs are rarely given by mouth and must be injected. Microencapsulation is one way to decrease the time needed between injections.

One slow-release delivery method for peptide drugs is to encapsulate them within the type of resorbable polymers often used as dissolving sutures, said study co-author Steven Schwendeman, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering.

However, development of polymer dosage forms for delivery of certain peptide drugs has been difficult because the currently available methods to microencapsulate the peptide molecules in the polymer require organic solvents and complex manufacturing.

“The Schwendeman group discovered about 10 years ago that peptides can bind and enter the polymer spontaneously from water to microencapsulate the peptide very simply without organic solvent,” Schwendeman said.

At that time, the group showed that the concept potentially worked, but it was not yet commercially useful, he said.

“This paper demonstrates that this concept can be performed to efficiently create equivalent or even improved injectable biodegradable polymer particles relative to existing commercial products, which slowly release several different peptides for more than one month, providing one of the first entirely new microencapsulation approaches in decades,” Schwendeman said.


Read the full article at Michigan News.