February 24, 2018 |
Drug Delivery Modification Sidesteps Allergic Responses
December 9, 2016  | 

Durham, NC — Biomedical engineers at Duke University have reconfigured a popular drug-delivery technology to evade immune responses that have halted some clinical trials.

Polyethylene glycol, commonly known as PEG is a polymer commonly found in commercial products from toothpaste to cosmetics, and also in pharmaceuticals. In pharmaceuticals it can be attached to drugs in the bloodstream to keep the body from clearing them, greatly lengthening the duration of their effects.

Because of PEG’s pervasiveness in everyday life however, many people are beginning to develop antibodies to the polymer. This has led some PED-modified drugs to lose their longevity and has even caused allergic reactions, some life threatening, according to the University.

A new paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering’s November issue has revealed an altered version of PEG that seems to avoid recognition by PEG antibodies already present in individuals. 

Initially developed to boost production efficiency, the new PEG delivery system was developed by Ashutosh Chilkoti, professor of biomedical engineering, and graduate student Yizhi (Stacey) Qi.

Conventional PEG drug-delivery polymers require labor-intensive synthesis and purification, but the new polymers are grown directly from a defined site on a drug molecule.

“Growing the polymer directly on the drug is simpler and more efficient in terms of yield than the conventional process,” said Qi. “The boost in efficiency varies from protein to protein, but our yield is significantly higher and produces more uniform results.” Continue>

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