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Protein drug oral delivery: The recent progress


Rapid development in molecular biology and recent advancement in recombinant technology increase identification and commercialization of potential protein drugs. Traditional forms of administrations for the peptide and protein drugs often rely on their parenteral injection, since the bioavailability of these therapeutic agents is poor when administered nonparenterally. Tremendous efforts by numerous investigators in the world have been put to improve protein formulations and as a result, a few successful formulations have been developed including sustained-release human growth hormone. For a promising protein delivery technology, efficacy and safety are the first requirement to meet. However, these systems still require periodic injection and increase the incidence of patient compliance. The development of an oral dosage form that improves the absorption of peptide and especially protein drugs is the most desirable formulation but one of the greatest challenges in the pharmaceutical field. The major barriers to developing oral formulations for peptides and proteins are metabolic enzymes and impermeable mucosal tissues in the intestine. Furthermore, chemical and conformational instability of protein drugs is not a small issue in protein pharmaceuticals. Conventional pharmaceutical approaches to address these barriers, which have been successful with traditional organic drug molecules, have not been effective for peptide and protein formulations. It is likely that effective oral formulations for peptides and proteins will remain highly compound specific. A number of innovative oral drug delivery approaches have been recently developed, including the drug entrapment within small vesicles or their passage through the intestinal paracellular pathway. This review provides a summary of the novel approaches currently in progress in the protein oral delivery followed by factors affecting protein oral absorption.

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Lee, H.J. Protein drug oral delivery: The recent progress. Arch Pharm Res 25, 572 (2002).

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Key words

  • Protein oral delivery
  • Absorption site
  • Metabolism
  • Permeability
  • Transporters
  • Solubility
  • Molecular size
  • Innovative pharmaceutical approaches
  • Microencapsulation
  • Nanoparticles
  • Mucoadhesion
  • Transport vectors