October 13, 2010

Changing How the Body Receives Medicine

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Just when we think we have administering medications down to a science, researchers have discovered a new method that could one day be more effective than methods used today.

Researchers at Queen's University have discovered how molecules in glass or plastic are able to move when exposed to light from a laser. This method could one day be used to facilitate medicinal drug distribution by allowing doctors to control the rate and amount at which the drugs are given.  The drugs would be held in a solid plastic container, and released through the body when exposed to light.

"Glasses and plastics are mysterious materials. We knew how the molecules moved in a liquid, but we didn't know how they moved in a glass or plastic "“ no one did," Lead researcher Jean-Michel Nunzi, a professor in the departments of Chemistry and Physics was quoted as saying. "We discovered the way motion takes place at the molecular scale in a glass or plastic."

Dr. Nunzi has determined that "molecular cooperation" is what allows the molecules to move and shift. He compares it to so many cars in a parking lot. He says that one car only move if another car does. The same goes for molecules- the light causes them to move slightly, but they only move any distance if other molecules are moving.

When plastic is exposed to light from a laser, the molecules under the light move together, changing the shape of the solid material. The molecules that are not exposed to the light remain stable. The result is a dramatic change in the shape of the solid material that is visible to the naked eye.

SOURCE: Journal of Chemical Physics, published online October 12, 2010