In a recent study published in Science Advances, Diptiman Choudhury, a biochemist at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, developed a new method for increasing a drug’s release time: transforming bacteria into a drug-transporting boat. The “bacterioboat” system encapsulates drug-loaded mesoporous nanoparticles in the biofilm coating of L. reuteri bacteria. This biofilm contains sugars and mucus-binding proteins that enable the therapeutic bacteria to anchor within the intestinal lining for multiple days, promoting sustained release of the drug from the biofilm coating.
Choudhury’s team tested the bacterioboat system’s drug-delivery capabilities in a tumor-bearing mouse model. Plasma concentrations of the orally delivered anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) peaked at three hours and were no longer detectable eight hours after administration. However, 5-FU delivered by bacterioboat persisted in circulation for up to 24 hours.
Mice that received a standard orally-delivered drug and those that received a half-dose of the bacterioboat delivered drug showed equivalent reductions in their tumors, demonstrating that bacterioboat allows for smaller drug quantities to produce a clinically significant effect. In a measurement of side effects, the half-dose of bacterioboat caused no liver toxicity, while the full dose of the conventionally-delivered drug caused some liver capillary destruction.
Kaur P, Ghosh S, Bhowmick A, Gadhave K, Datta S, Ghosh A, Garg N, Mahajan RL, Basu B, Choudhury D. Bacterioboat-A novel tool to increase the half-life period of the orally administered drug. Sci Adv. 2022 Mar 11;8(10):eabh1419. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abh1419