Drug Delivery – Switchable Peptide-Stabilized Emulsions

A new study which has been led by Prof. Meital Reches from the Hebrew University, along with Mr. Daniel Boas, one of the Ph.D. students in her group, as well as the team of collaborators, has gone on to pioneer a new drug delivery system that happens to be centered on switchable peptide-stabilized emulsions.

This innovation happens to hold the promise of shifting drug delivery by way of allowing the simultaneous transport of water-soluble as well as water-insoluble compounds, and that too in a single carrier, thereby overcoming previous limitations within the conventional methods.

The findings happen to be published in the journal- Chem.

Traditionally, the emulsions have gone on to serve as reliable carriers when it comes to drug delivery; however, their efficacy has been hindered by their inability to encapsulate both kinds of drugs in the same vehicle. It is well to be noted that Prof. Reches’ team went on to tackle this challenge by devising a short peptide composed of just four amino acids, that is capable of stabilizing emulsions as well as accommodating both hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds.

The heart of this kind of innovation lies in the peptide’s remarkable capacity to go ahead and alter its shape upon binding certain metal ions, transforming from hydrophilic to amphiphilic. The fact is that this molecular metamorphosis not only goes on to stabilize the emulsions containing water-insoluble drugs but, at the same time, also facilitates the delivery of water-soluble metal ions that are attached to the peptide.

In simpler terminology, the peptide can go on to adjust its form when it goes ahead and binds to specific metal ions, thereby enabling it to adhere to both water as well as fat and hence maintaining the balance of the drug mixture. Moreover, it can go on to transport metal ions that happen to dissolve in water.

In order to understand the workings of such kinds of emulsions, researchers have gone on to make use of sophisticated techniques like spectroscopy, NMR, and molecular dynamics. Their investigations went ahead and also revealed that the balance when it comes to these emulsions stems from the bonds between histidine and metal, which can indeed be reversible under low pH conditions like those found in tumor cells, hence releasing drugs precisely where they are needed.

Apparently, the early trials involving paclitaxel-loaded emulsions have gone on to yield some really encouraging results, thereby demonstrating massive efficacy against cancer cells. Furthermore, this versatile system also goes on to offer more than just drug delivery. As a matter of fact, it can get customized with many features, hence opening up avenues for new applications as well as advantages.