End the duopoly

A nature-inspired coating to keep drugs from breaking down too early

Researchers have developed a thin coating that could make it possible for medications to have fewer additives. Credit: Shutterstock.com Chemists have developed a coating that could make certain medications and other materials more stable by covering them with an outer layer much thinner than the width of a human hair.

That coating secures whatever is inside, the researchers said, and could make it possible for medications to have fewer additives used to keep them from breaking apart early.

“Think about it like a row of coins—a stack of quarters—and the stack on its own will probably fall apart,” said Jon Parquette, senior author of the study and a professor of chemistry at The Ohio State University. “But if you get a stack of quarters from the bank, they put a plastic coating on the stack, and that plastic coating holds all the coins together. That’s exactly what we’ve done here.”

The difference: The researchers created this coating from polydopamine, a material inspired by nature but created in a laboratory. And they used it to cover peptide nanofibers, very small chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. Peptide nanofibers are some of the building blocks of materials we use […]

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