Research ArticleHEALTH AND MEDICINE

Drug-encapsulated carbon (DECON): A novel platform for enhanced drug delivery

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Science Advances  14 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaax0780
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0780

Abstract

Current drug-delivery systems are designed primarily for parenteral applications and are either lipid or polymer drug conjugates. In our quest to inhibit herpes simplex virus infection via the compounds found in commonly used cosmetic products, we found that activated carbon particles inhibit infection and, in addition, substantially improve topical delivery and, hence, the efficacy of a common antiviral drug, acyclovir (ACV). Our in vitro studies demonstrate that highly porous carbon structures trapped virions, blocked infection and substantially improved efficacy when ACV was loaded onto them. Also, using murine models of corneal and genital herpes infections, we show that the topical use of drug-encapsulated carbon (DECON) reduced dosing frequency, shortened treatment duration, and exhibited higher therapeutic efficacy than currently approved topical or systemic antivirals alone. DECON is a nontoxic, cost-effective and nonimmunogenic alternative to current topical drug-delivery systems that is uniquely triggered for drug release by virus trapping.

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