A self-unfolding proximity enabling device for oral delivery of macromolecules

Mahdi Ghavami*, Jesper Geert Pedersen, Rolf Bech Kjeldsen, Aage Kristian Olsen Alstrup, Zhongyang Zhang, Vasiliki Koulianou, Johan Palmfeldt, Thomas Vorup-Jensen, Lasse Højlund Eklund Thamdrup*, Anja Boisen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Oral delivery of macromolecules remains highly challenging due to their rapid degradation in the gastrointestinal tract and poor absorption across the tight junctions of the epithelium. In the last decade, researchers have investigated several medical devices to overcome these challenges using various approaches, some of which involve piercing through the intestine using micro and macro needles. We have developed a new generation of medical devices called self-unfolding proximity enabling devices, which makes it possible to orally deliver macromolecules without perforating the intestine. These devices protect macromolecules from the harsh conditions in the stomach and release their active pharmaceutical ingredients in the vicinity of the intestinal epithelium. One device version is a self-unfolding foil that we have used to deliver insulin and nisin to rats and pigs respectively. In our study, this device has shown a great potential for delivering peptides, with a significant increase in the absorption of solid dosage of insulin by ∼12 times and nisin by ∼4 times in rats and pigs, respectively. With the ability to load solid dosage forms, our devices can facilitate enhanced absorption of minimally invasive oral macromolecule formulations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Drug delivery device
  • Elastomer
  • Ingestible device
  • Oral delivery of macromolecule
  • Oral insulin
  • Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)


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