Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Scientists are developing special threads that can release drugs anywhere in the body

Published Jul 7th, 2024 9:02AM EDT
scientists working in lab
Image: chokniti / Adobe

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Swiss scientists have created a new type of drug-carrying thread that can help deliver drugs directly where the body needs them. This can help create more centralized treatment, allowing for smaller dosages and hopefully improved treatment options in various types of treatments.

Currently, when treating the human body with different medicines, doctors have to prescribe higher-than-needed dosages. That’s because when taking a medication by injection or orally, it has to travel through the body to the point where it is needed. As the medication travels through the bloodstream, some of it is lost or soaked up by those other parts. So, you have to account for that when treating something in a specific place.

But, if you used drug-carrying threads like the new textile fibers these Swiss scientists have crated, you could use smaller dosages, and also reduce the amount of possible damage and unwanted side effects done to other parts of the body by utilizing a more targeted approach. We’ve seen similar techniques utilized to target cancer cells and these new fibers could theoretically be loaded with any kind of medication.

Stem cells operation
A doctor performing a medical procedure. Image source: Vadim / Adobe

To manufacture the fibers, the scientists utilized a process known as melt spinning. If the medication isn’t sensitive to heat, it can be added to the fiber during the melt spinning process, when the biocompatible, biodegradable polymer they use is most pliable. If the medication is sensitive to heat, though, it can added later by adding a placeholder material to the core of the fiber and then replacing it with the medication later.

From there, the fibers can be added to the body. If the medication has smaller molecules, then they can dissipate through the porous walls of the fiber. However, if the molecules are larger, they’ll have to leak out slowly through the open ends of the drug-carrying threads. In either case, the rate of the drug’s release is improved drastically, allowing for more targeted release.

Because the fiber is made up of biodegradable polymer, it will eventually dissolve, making it harmless and noninvasive to the patient’s body. It’s an intriguing development that could definitely see some usage in the medical world, especially for treating issues that have more side effects without those targeted releases.

The researchers highlighted the discovery and utilization of the new threads in a paper published in the journal Polymer.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.