GRI Faculty Affiliate, Ambika Bajpayee, was part of the group of scientists who co-authored this work. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant, the team designed the drug-delivery vehicle that consists of six arms joined by an elastic-coated core. The arms are loaded with the contraceptive drug, Levonorgestrel, and are folded into a capsule that can be swallowed.
The research team tested the concentration of oral contraceptives over time in a pig model and measured the presence of the drug in the bloodstream for animals that had been given the extended-release form versus an immediate-release tablet. For the immediate-release tablet the dosage tapered off after six hours while on the other hand, the extended-release form showed concentrations of the drug for up to 29 days.
Work is now underway to bring the extended-release pill closer to human trials. The next steps will include scaling up and manufacturing processes alongside safety evaluations.