Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Efficient drug delivery from implanted capsules

In the fight against cancer and other deadly viral diseases it has long been recognised that alternative drug administrative procedures may prove more effective in suppressing malignant tumours. The logical assumption, supported by current research, that the cure lies within the biological, genetic features of the cell, enhances the importance of the selected vector for delivering the curing agent. The current project has succeeded in developing capsules made from cellulose that can be implanted into patients and deliver necessary antibodies.
Efficient drug delivery from implanted capsules
Developing methods for systematic long-term delivery of drugs would provide a solution to a number of diseases that require such form of treatment. An obvious example that comes to mind under such conditions are people in need of insulin, as well as cancer patients who also require long-term treatment and surveillance. Moreover, in the case of cancers and other severe viral diseases, it is important for the drug's efficiency to be administered locally and close to the tumour if possible.

The possibility of implanting capsules containing antibody-producing cells has been successfully researched by the current project. After extensive in vivo tests on mice that lasted well over ten months it was shown that capsules made from cellulose sulphate, if implanted under the skin or in the serous membrane that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity, do not stimulate any neutralising fluidal responses and can therefore be safely used for drug delivery. More specifically to cancer and viral diseases, the capsules that contained hybridoma cells delivered monoclonal antibodies into the blood stream of immunocompetent mice. Drug delivery lasted for several months.

Crucial to the procedure is the fact that the cellulose sulphate matrix does not trigger the immune system. Capsules implanted in the intraperitoneal cavity remain mobile and are not absorbed by body fluids (non-vascularised). On the other hand capsules implanted under the skin do form neo-organs that become vascularised within days. Another important observation that points to the fact that use of cellulose does not have any adjuvant effects is that no isolating fibrosis nor any obvious inflammatory response was detected for observation periods as long as 10 months.

The Austrian SME that developed the method of encapsulating cells for production of monoclonal antibodies seeks joint venture or marketing agreement in order to apply the method and provide efficient gene/cell therapy to a number of diseases.
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