London, April 1 : In a breakthrough, researchers have developed a device that accurately simulates gastrointestinal tract and how it absorbs medication.
The discovery could lead to cheaper, more effective medicines.
“This device simulates the human gut and its differing pH gradients which play a decisive role in determining the manner in which orally-administered medications are dissolved and then absorbed,” explained Hamid Merchant, a senior lecturer in pharmaceutics from University of Huddersfield in Britain.
The drug testing device includes a chamber for holding a solvent medium plus a pH probe and a control unit.
This monitors changes in the pH of the solvent medium in order to test the performance of a drug carrier at different levels of acidity or alkalinity, mimicking the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.
The device is particularly suitable for testing and developing dosage forms for oral delivery of drugs and can also simulate the variability between individuals.
“It is now possible to fairly discriminate the formulations of a new drug and identify potential candidates for further development that are likely to be successful during clinical trials,” Merchant added.
By minimising human trials, the cost of development which charged to patients when the drug comes to the market can be reduced.
“If the development costs are lower, then we can make new drugs more affordable,” Merchant commented.