Written by Laura McCoubrey

Developing bioadhesive nanoparticles

In this work the Basit Group collaborated with researchers at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, with the goal of improving the treatment of oesophageal diseases. Nanoparticles measuring 100 – 200 nm in diameter were produced from poly(lactic acid)-hyperbranched polyglycerol co-polymers and subsequently afforded bioadhesive properties by oxidising vicinal diols on the particle surface. These bioadhesive nanoparticles (BNPs) were found to be biocompatible in cell culture studies and to achieve high levels of peptide binding in vitro compared to non-adhesive nanoparticle (NNPs). BNPs were also shown to adhere to oesophageal tissues far better than NNPs, with 15-fold higher retention on the in vivo rat oesophageal epithelium than NNPs 2 hours post-administration. Importantly, the BNPs also permeated into the human oesophageal tissue significantly deeper than NNPs.

Bioadhesive nanoparticles treat oesophageal disease

Next, the BNPs were applied to treat rats with simulated achalasia, a serious oesophageal disease that affects humans, by loading them with nifedipine (NFDP), a drug with known efficacy in achalasia. Rats administered NFDP-BNPs gained significantly more weight during the 7-day study than rats treated with NFDP-NNPs and free NFDP as they were able to consume more food due to superior management of the disease. In fact, rats treated with NFDP-BNPs had similar food intake to healthy rats. NFDP-BNPs delivered significantly higher concentrations of drug to rats’ oesophageal tissues and lowered systemic drug exposure compared to NFDP-NNPs and free NFDP. In summary, BNPs represent an exciting nanotechnology that could further developed to establish new treatments for conditions affecting the oesophagus.

Read our research article here.