Crystallizing drugs in gels

In a new report just published in Small, researcher at the University of Melbourne, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Imperial College London, explore the use of various gels for crystallizing therapeutics.

The gels could help direct how the crystals formed, and changed both their size and morphology.

These types of gels may help advance our understanding of how drug crystals form—which may enable us to make more effective medicines—while also showing promise for drug delivery applications.

Publication in Small. DOI: 10.1002/smll.201801202

Additional access options (including open access) are available here.


The use of supramolecular gel media for the crystallization of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) is of interest for controlling crystal size, morphology, and polymorphism, as these features determine the performance of pharmaceutical formulations. In contrast to supramolecular systems prepared from synthetic gelators, herein, supramolecular metallogels based on a natural polyphenol (tannic acid) are used for the crystallization of APIs. The gel‐grown API crystals exhibit considerable differences in size, morphology, and polymorphism when compared with those formed in solutions. These physical features can also be tailored by varying the gel composition and additives, suggesting an influence of the gel medium on the crystallization outcomes. Furthermore, these gel–API crystal composites can be used for sustained drug release, indicating their potential as drug delivery systems. The facile preparation of these supramolecular gels and the use of naturally abundant components in their synthesis provide a generic platform for studying gel‐mediated crystallization of diverse APIs.


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