artificial gi systemm New System Simulates Human Gut to Test Medication Absorption




April 1, 2014

While new technologies coming out daily make us feel like we’re living in the future, some methods still used in the clinical and biomedical research fields we can’t wait to be replaced by less draconian means. One such issue is testing of how drugs are absorbed by body’s gastrointestinal system, which currently involves using unwilling live animals and then willing human patients in very expensive and time consuming pre-clinical and clinical trials. A new device developed at University of Huddersfield in England replicates some aspects of the human gut in order to simulate how a proposed medication will absorb into the body.

The GI tract can be at different levels of acidity/alkalinity, so testing a medication as though it moves through the different pH levels can quickly point to its potential strengths or weaknesses while being digested. The system consists of a main chamber where the environment is created for drug testing, and the appropriate gasses that power it, as well as a pH and temperature electrodes and a control unit to regulate the levels.

Some details from the patent application filed for the new technology:

Apparatus for testing the solubility of a medical dosage form includes a chamber (12) for holding a solvent medium (18), in the preferred embodiment a bicarbonate based buffer system. The apparatus also includes a pH probe (66) which is connectable to a supply of carbon dioxide (32, 34),as well as to a supply of helium (40), the supplies being controlled by a control unit (50). The control unit (50) monitors changes in pH of the solvent medium (18) and, as appropriate, feeds pH increasing and/or p H reducing gas from the supplies(32, 34, 40) into the chamber (12). The control unit (50) is able to maintain a uniform pH during testing or to provide a dynamically adjustable pH during testing, for example to three or more different pH levels in order to test the performance of a drug carrier at different levels of acidity or alkalinity for example, mimicking the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. The apparatus(20) and associated method are particularly suitable for testing and developing dosage forms for oral delivery of drugs.

University of Huddersfield: New device simulates the gastro-intestinal tract and how it absorbs medication…


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