Research brief: Liquorice improves drug delivery

Compounds found in liquorice could be used to target cancer drugs to liver tumours more effectively and cheaply than current methods, say Chinese researchers. Studies in mice showed that two acids found in liquorice preferentially accumulated in the liver. When combined with an antitumour drug, the acids were able to deliver the treatment to the liver more effectively that the antibodies and oligopeptides traditionally used. One of the liquorice compounds, glycerrhizic acid, is tens of thousands of times cheaper and easier to isolate than antibodies currently in use for tissue-targeted drug delivery (Polymer International Online 2006).

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