Boston: Caffeine is well-known for its ability to help people stay alert, but scientists have now come up with a novel use for the stimulant – creating biocompatible gels for drug delivery and other medical applications.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US loaded the gels with two antimalarial drugs.
The material could also be used to carry other types of drugs, said former MIT postdoc Angela DiCiccio, lead author of the research paper published in the journal Biomaterials.
Drugs carried by this kind of material could be chewable or easier to swallow, the researchers said.
“It is really appealing for patient populations, especially children, who have difficulty with swallowing capsules and tablets,” said Giovanni Traverso, a research affiliate at MIT.
“Making polymer gels usually requires metal catalysts, which could be hazardous if any of the catalyst remains in the material after the gel is formed.
The MIT team…