Researchers at MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have created a polymer gel that could enable the development of long-acting devices that reside in the stomach, including orally delivered capsules that can release drugs over a number of days, weeks, or potentially months following a single administration. This breakthrough could go a long way toward improving patient adherence to long-term therapies for chronic illnesses. The World Health Organization estimates that only 50% of patients in developed countries comply with medication requirements, costing the United States alone an estimated $100 billion every year, the bulk of which comes in the form of unnecessary hospitalizations.
The researchers designed a supramolecular elastomer gel by combining poly(acryloyl 6-aminocaproic acid) and poly(methacrylic acid co-ethyl acrylate), a pharmaceutical-grade polymer that resists digestion, reports ChemistryWorld. The gel can be cut to various sizes and recovers its shape quickly after being stretched to three times its original length.