Researchers at LSU are in the process of developing a new adhesive gel for drug delivery that will be more cost-effective than existing hydrogel-based carriers. A process dubbed a “pH clock reaction” is being applied after studies into the interaction between urea and the enzyme urease. With the addition of two chemicals during the “clock reaction”, a water-soluble adhesive gel is created.
This gel, though similar to other delivery methods will offer cost-savings owing to the resulting ‘one-pot’ formula that does not require the use of polymerization catalysts or initiators. Thus, the bioadhesive can form in the human body without any external stimulus.
As the hydrogel degrades, the drug is released, and since this process is tunable, a high degree of customization and predictability becomes possible. Although the bioadhesive and its degradation products are completely non-toxic, researchers say that further work will be needed before the advance is market-ready.