NASA Invention Being Used to Help Reduce Drug Doses

30 Jan, 2013 | Guides & Resources
NASA Invention Being Used to Help Reduce Drug Doses

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago are experimenting with levitation to help reduce drug doses by changing their physical structure.

If you levitate a liquid as it cools and solidifies, its structure may be different if it has no contact with a surface that can trigger crystallisation.

Instead of solidifying in its usual crystal structure, the compound is more likely to freeze as an “amorphous” or glassy material, which can make a big difference if it is a drug.

Particle size analysis shows that amorphous drugs dissolve better in water and work more efficiently in the patient, which means that much lower doses can be given

The technology is based on acoustic levitation, invented by NASA to simulate weightlessness. Small speakers generate intense sound waves, which create enough acoustic pressure to counteract the downward force of gravity.

The researchers believe the technique could prove valuable for AIDS drugs, which are particularly difficult to dissolve.