Ceramics in Biomedicine

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ceramics in biomedicine Lucideon develops nanoporous ceramic pills to prevent abuse of painkillers Materials science company Lucideon (Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom) has developed a new strategy that can prevent drug abusers from using dangerous high-increasing methods of taking opioid analgesics, a class of drugs that includes oxycodone, fentanyl, and methadone. The company’s ceramic pills are much more structurally robust than traditional pharmaceuticals, making them very difficult to crush or to dissolve into alcohol or other solvents. Because the ceramic pills are porous, Lucideon can embed pharmaceutical drugs within the pills’ pores. Those pores then release the drug into the body once the pill is ingested, a development the company calls inorganic controlled release technology, or iCRT. The pills are made of a silica-based material and have a high melting point, a feature that further deters drug abuse via injection because heating to such high temperatures would in the process destroy the drug’s activity. If commercialized, the technology could offer an unlikely ally to effectively fight opioid painkiller abuse. Lucideon fabricates the silica pills with a proprietary method that creates a nanoporous material that confers tight control over dose release rate, says Gemma Budd, business manager of Lucideon Healthcare, in a phone interview. The process can generate pores that are 2–5 nm in diameter within the ceramic matrix. Although the company will not disclose details of its proprietary manufacturing technique, Budd says it is a sol–gel process— a benefit for manufacturing because it does not require high temperatures, which can destroy drug activity. Drugs can be loaded into pores of the material before or after processing, depending on the drug formulation itself or the intended therapeutic outcome. According to Budd, Lucideon believes that controlled charges on the pore surfaces make it much easier for the drug to be released in the intended environment within the body rather than in solvents such as alcohol. Taken orally, ceramic pills release their embedded drugs within the body, and then the pill itself passes through the gastrointestinal tract. Although the ceramics do break down somewhat in the intestinal tract, Lucideon does not expect that this degradation will be problematic, because silica is considered biosafe, Budd says. Further, the company soon will establish biocompatibility profiles for its ceramic pills—Lucideon is about to enter into clinical trials with one of its pharmaceutical partners. n Painkiller pill abuse is a problem worldwide, but materials science company Lucideon has developed a new ceramic solution to prevent some types of abuse. Credit: Pranjal Mahna; Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Every Nanometer counts The new Dilatometer DIL 402 Expedis with revolutionary NanoEye measuring cell Find out more about the new NanoEye technology: www.netzsch.com/n22856 Every Nanometer counts DIL 402 Expedis Supreme The new Dilatometer DIL 402 Expedis with revolutionary NanoEye measuring cell Find out more about the new NanoEye technology: www.netzsch.com/n22856 DIL 402 Expedis Supreme See us at Ceramics Expo, booth #100 American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 3 | www.ceramics.org 11


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