Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Drugs, Acoustics and Surface Tension

With the right music you can change the world.  With the right drugs you can change the world.  With the right drugs and right music you have Motley Crue.

Well.....Actually if you put a certain frequency of sound you move a liquid.  Some people thought how to use this for science and they came up with Labcyte.  Labcyte is a liquid handler that moves liquids not with a traditional pump and pipette robots but with acoustics.  It is innovative because this tool changes liquid handling overall without cross contamination from pipette tips.  It is allowing for drug companies to get better results than traditional handling procedures due to concentration effects.  If they could figure out how to accurately determine the surface tension using acoustics  they might be able to compete with companies that make tensiometers.

However, what is even more interesting than Labcyte and handling drugs is actually making drugs using acoustical waves or crystallizing drugs using inverse acoustics.

Drugs when made can fall into two categories: amorphous or crystalline.  For some reason the crystalline drugs do not get absorbed as well.  Amorphous drugs get absorbed in the body better and in lower quantities.   The Department of Energy in the US has found that using acoustics, drugs can be levitated to make amorphous drugs.  The surface tension of the aqueous solution allows the drug to stay in tact when levitating (like in zero gravity).  Likely, the drugs on the surface of the liquid probably form different hydrogen bonds or other types of bonds with each other to form the amorphous drug than in a crystallized form.  For some reason (not sure why) the membranes in the body like these antigravity amorphous drugs more.