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Discovery & Development Drug Delivery

New Age Traveler

The acidic conditions of the human gut pale in comparison to the microbe Sulfolobus islandicus’ 75 °C, pH 2 Nordic abode. Millions of years of evolution in these harsh conditions have given the microbe a resilient lipid exterior – that could potentially be interesting for drug development purposes.

“S. islandicus belong to the Archaea – a domain of single-celled microorganisms – and like all archaea it contains lipids that are stable against premature degradation and thus suited to lipid-based oral drug delivery-systems that are less sensitive to bile salts,” says Martin Brandl, a professor at University of Southern Denmark. He and his colleagues have isolated lipids from the volcanic spring dwelling microbe to construct a nano-capsule that they believe can transport drugs safely through the stomach (1). This feature appears especially promising for the delivery of protein- and peptide-drugs, many of which currently cannot be administered orally due to their inherent instability in the stomach and duodenum.

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