Silica nanospheres used to deliver drugs in a targeted manner in the body

Small “bottles” of silica glass on a nanometric scale could allow targeted delivery of drugs into the body: this is what a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has come to.

These are hollow spheres made of very small silica with a diameter of about 200 nanometers. These small containers have a hole on their surface that could allow the filling and release of drugs only at certain temperatures. The researchers tested these small spheres in the laboratory with a mixture of fatty acids, a dye and an anticancer drug.

Fatty acids remained solid at the temperature of the human body but nevertheless melted as soon as this temperature rose a few degrees. The increase occurred through the projection of an infrared laser that was absorbed by the dye. The heat of the laser caused fatty acids to dissolve and release the drug.

This is a method that could allow the release of drugs in a very targeted manner in specific areas of the body, which could, in specific cases, cancel serious side effects, as specified by Younan Xia, a researcher at Georgia Tech and Emory University and one of the authors of the study adds: “The rest of the drug remains encapsulated by solid fatty acids inside the ‘bottles’, which are biocompatible and biodegradable.”

To change the speed of drug release, it is enough to change the size of the hole on the surface of the nanospheres, an approach defined as “very promising” by Xia himself.