Inexpensive Nanoparticle-Based Expectorant
Tech ID: 21000 / UC Case 2010-185-0
Expectorants are a class of medications that help dissolve thick mucus and thus relieve respiratory congestion. Widely-used expectorants such as guaifenesin, currently found in many popular over-the-counter formulations like Robitussin® and Mucinex®, can have problems with drug interactions or with side effects such as allergic reactions, nausea, and vomiting. The challenge in creating viable competitors to existing expectorant compounds, however, is that they must also be economical to manufacture and easy to deliver to the respiratory system as well as have fewer side effects.
Researchers at the University of California, Merced (UC Merced) have found that an inexpensive, easily produced nanoparticle can act as an expectorant without any additional drugs, chemicals, or enzymes. The UC Merced nanoparticle acts as a mucolytic agent, chelating the Ca++ ions that are crucial for cross-linking mucin proteins. The resulting chelates are repulsed from the glycans linked to mucin peptides, thereby promoting the dispersion of the chelated calcium and thus facilitating a more rapid breakdown of the mucin network. The UC Merced researchers showed that in vitro mucin aggregates, gelated to approximately 7 µm diameter particles, could be broken down to particles less than 1 µm diameter in less than an hour using a 10 mg/L concentration of the UC Merced nanoparticles.
Expectorant medications based on the UC Merced nanoparticles are attractive candidates for use in over-the-counter cough formulations and for the treatment of thick, viscous mucus associated with devastating respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The UC Merced nanoparticles have a very promising commercial potential, as they are:
- economical to manufacture;
- easy to deliver via nasal sprays or inhalers;
- relatively inert compounds that are not likely to produce serious side effects;
- amenable to localized delivery, as nanoparticles of varying sizes can penetrate at different depths within the bronchial tree; and
- open to further chemical modification as needed for enhancing efficacy or for minimizing cellular cytotoxicity.
|United States Of America||Published Application||20110135744||06/09/2011||2010-185|
- Chen, Eric Yi-Tong
- Chin, Wei-Chun
- Wang, Yung-Chen
expectorant, mucolytic, pulmonary decongestant, asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease