A team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT are developing a new method to help improve adherence and reduce the risk of pregnancy by offering an oral contraceptive that could be taken once a month. The study was published in the “Science Translational Medicine Journal”.
“Our capsule represents a major step forward towards providing women with a contraceptive once a month. For many, this may be hard to believe. But our preclinical data encourages us in this direction,” said the co-correspondent author. Giovanni Traverso, MD, PhD, gastroenterologist and physician-researcher at Brigham and MIT. “We started our work on sustained release drugs by working with treatments for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. But early on, we had conversations about the potential impact that extended drug release could have on family planning. fertility control and are delighted to report our progress towards this goal, ”added Traverso.
The team designed a drug delivery vehicle consisting of six arms connected by an elastic-coated core. The arms were loaded with levonorgestrel, an oral contraceptive, and folded into a capsule that could be swallowed. Once in the stomach, the arms unfold and have a wingspan wider than the opening of the human pylorus, helping the system to stay in the stomach where it can release the drug over time. The research team tested the concentration of oral contraceptives over time in a porcine model and measured the presence of the drug in the blood for animals that had received the extended-release form versus an immediate-release tablet. For the tablet, the dosage decreased after six hours. For the extended-release form, the team observed drug concentrations for up to 29 days.
Work is currently underway to bring the extended-release pill closer to human trials. Next steps will include scaling up manufacturing processes and safety assessments. Co-authors of this work included Ameya R. Kirtane, Tiffany Hua, Alison Hayward, Ambika Bajpayee, Aniket Wahane, Aaron Lopes, Taylor Bensel, Lihong Ma, Frank Z. Stanczyk, Sierra Brooks, Declan Gwynne, Jacob Wainer, Joy Collins , Siid Tamang and Robert Langer.
This work was funded by Grant # OPP1139927 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Traverso, Langer and Kirtane are co-inventors of patents describing the use of gastric retention drug delivery systems. Traverso and Langer have a financial interest in Lyndra Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing oral drug delivery for sustained drug release. Hayward is a consultant for Lyndra Therapeutics. (ANI)
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