Researchers at Northwestern University have published data showing that metal-organic frameworks can be used to extend the duration of ibuprofen. The in vivo mouse study was published in Molecular Pharmaceutics.
Metal-organic frameworks are made up of metal ions linked to organic ligands. Since MOFs are porous, researchers pack active ingredients inside of them and use them as vessels for oral drug delivery.
“Although MOFs have been frequently discussed as potential drug-delivery vehicles, very few instances of in vivo studies involving MOFs have been reported to date,” the team said, according to New Atlas.
The researchers loaded ibuprofen into the MOFs with cyclodextrin and alkali metal cations to test in a mouse model. They found that the ibuprofen reached the bloodstream in 10 to 20 minutes, which is comparable to traditionally formulated ibuprofen.
The team also reported that the ibuprofen delivered in MOFs lasted twice as long, with a half-life of 2 hours compared to 1 hour for ibuprofen salts.
“As for the reason why the MOF works, we aren’t sure at this stage,” lead researcher Karel Hartlieb told the news outlet. “But the cyclodextrins upon which the MOF is built are known to act as agents to increase bioavailability of drugs.”
“We used ibuprofen as a model compound, but it is possible to load a variety of other drugs within MOF, and in the future we’d like to collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry to explore the potential of MOF for formulation and drug-delivery technologies,” Karel added.