A New Way To “Wrap” Liquid Medication

Technology Networks | October 23, 2019

Researchers have developed a faster, cheaper way to coat liquid medication, an invention that could improve how drugs are delivered in the body. The new encapsulation technology, developed by engineers at the University of Waterloo, uses gravity and other natural forces to wrap drops as they fall through a thin layer of liquid shell floating on a base liquid. Once hardened, or cured, by exposure to ultraviolet light, the shell houses and protects the liquid core inside. “It is a very simple technique that requires almost no energy – and it is extremely rapid,” said Sushanta Mitra, executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. “Encapsulation takes place in milliseconds.” When the liquid core is required – after reaching a particular area of the body for targeted drug delivery, for instance – the shell is designed to dissolve and release its contents. Mitra said the system’s simplicity enables much more economical production of capsules than current methods, which include machines that wrap drops with thin gel sheets and complex microfluidic processes. “We envision a very simple, rapid, mass-production system using syringes,” said Mitra, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering who is cross-appointed in chemical engineering and physics and astronomy. “With a one-shot approach, you could produce thousands of these encapsulations.”

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