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Lab Reports
January 3, 2017

Long-Acting Oral Drug Device May Help Combat Malaria

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Copyright 2017 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.

JAMA. 2017;317(1):17. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.18686

Investigators have developed an oral drug capsule that unfurls into a star shape that temporarily remains in the stomach and releases its contents for up to 2 weeks. The strategy, described in a Science Translational Medicine study, may be especially helpful in resource-constrained or remote locations for treating diseases such as malaria that require adherence to long-term therapy.

To test this drug delivery system, a team led by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital filled the capsule with a formulation of ivermectin, a drug that disrupts malaria transmission by killing infected mosquitoes. When administered to pigs, the device slowly released ivermectin for 10 to 14 days—without damaging the stomach or obstructing the passage of food—before dissolving and passing out of the body.

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