October 2020
Vol 6, Issue 44

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Extended release drug delivery platforms for the gastrointestinal tract (GI) have proven difficult to develop, since digestive movements in the tract tend to eliminate such devices from the body. In order to overcome this challenge, Ghosh et al. developed drug-loaded devices inspired by hookworms—parasitic roundworms that can linger in the small intestine for long periods of time, feeding on the blood of their host. The devices, called theragrippers, dig their claws into the mucosal tissue of the intestinal tract in response to body heat or other biologic cues, then release the drugs into the GI lumen. The researchers demonstrated that the theragrippers were capable of clinging to the GI tracts of live rats for 24 hours and observed a six-fold increase in the elimination half-life of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve moderate pain, indicating that the device helped the drug to remain in the body for a substantially longer period of time. The findings provide evidence that self-latching microdevices can effectively enhance extended drug delivery. [CREDIT: LYDIA GREGG 2020 JHU]