Researchers from Azrieli, an academic college in Jerusalem, have registered a patent for a therapeutic sticker that provides targeted treatment. The treatment is based on a mechanism that mimics the activity of beetles in nature, in a way that allows the attachment of a patch containing a drug directly to the patient’s place without chemical glue. Avoiding contagion will save the need to introduce substances into the body through the bloodstream and will even reduce side effects in many cases.
The researchers, Dr. Ayman Abu Amar and Prof. Hitam Qassem, from the fields of pharmaceutical engineering and mechanical engineering at Azrieli College, combined the two fields of knowledge in their study in order to find a drug solution for areas in the body that have external access. The patient and without passage in the blood vessels or other internal organs in the body.
“Nowadays, when a patient needs medication for a sick area of the body, he takes medications that are usually inserted through the digestive tract and are absorbed into the bloodstream and from there reach the patient’s area,” the researchers explain. “The disadvantages of this treatment are the exposure of all the internal body systems to the drug substances without any need, which sometimes leads to side effects.
“In recent years the medical world has focused on personalized medicine, that is, providing a medicine tailored to each person according to their genetic and other characteristics. The current patent is actually one step further, as it provides a disease-targeted medicine without exposing other organs to the drug and treatment.”
They further explain that nature is a source of inspiration for many ideas that can lead to the solution of engineering problems in various fields. One of the significant challenges in the world of pharmaceutical engineering is the development of mucoadhesive systems (capable of adhering to mucous tissues in the body) to transport drugs and release them locally and in a controlled manner without the need for chemical glue, which may streamline drug treatment and reduce side effects.
The researchers found that an imitation of the existing biological linkage mechanism in the leaf beetle’s legs, which is based on fungal microstructures, meets this need. In the wild, this mechanism allows the beetle to cling and walk on various rough leaves and surfaces under different conditions.
As part of the study, the researchers developed a patch designed to treat oral fungus. The patch is based on fungal micro-structures that allow it to adhere to the mucous tissue in the oral cavity, thus releasing the drug locally for a long and controlled time – and thanks to this it is expected to reduce the frequency and dose, as well as the side effects.
According to the researchers, the way this innovative drug, inspired by nature, has great potential to develop a variety of effective systems for controlled release and transport of drugs, by increasing their adhesion properties and without the need to use chemical glue. The present patent is currently suitable for treatments of the oral cavity, nose and eyes, as well as for vaginal administration.