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Scientists have created special capsules for oral vaccination with RNA-based drugs

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Scientists have created special capsules for oral vaccination with RNA-based drugs
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a method for giving oral RNA vaccines. With the help of special capsules, drugs based on RNA and DNA will be able to withstand exposure to aggressive environments of the digestive system. The development will make it possible to more effectively deal with various diseases, including diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Over the past few years, the laboratories of Traverso and Robert Langer at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT have been trying to find new ways to deliver drugs to the gastrointestinal tract. In 2019, they created a shell for solid drugs that can deliver the drug directly to the mucous membrane. A capsule with a blueberry berry has a special shape: on one side it is almost flat, and on the opposite side it has a bulge. The entire surface of the shell is covered with microscopic needles. This shape allows the correct orientation of the capsule so that the contents can penetrate into the mucosa.

Scientists have created special capsules for oral vaccination with RNA-based drugs


Last year, scientists used this shell to transport molecules in liquid form (monoclonal antibodies). Later, the introduction of RNA molecules was tested in a similar way. To protect them from the harsh environment, the MIT researchers used the latest kind of polymer - microscopic particles of poly(beta-aminoether).

To begin with, scientists conducted tests on mice by injecting them with drugs without capsules. Ribonucleic acid, delivered inside rodents, encodes a reporter protein found in tissue, subject to successful absorption of RNA by cells. Scientists have discovered this protein in the stomachs and livers of animals.

After the RNA microparticles were lyophilized and placed in capsules. In cooperation with representatives of the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk (Denmark), three capsules were delivered to the stomachs of pigs (a total of 150 μg of ribonucleic acids).

The use of capsules has a good prospect for vaccination. To complete the picture, the scientists are going to determine whether it is possible to achieve a positive immune response, including the activation of B and T cells, by transporting the mRNA drug in the shell. It is likely that in the near future it will be possible to vaccinate against coronavirus without the use of injections.
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