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Image of the month

A tiny revolution in medicine

By Mary Fitzgerald   October 2009

This image, captured by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy from the London School of Pharmacy, is of a tiny capsule containing a drug called prednisolone being used to treat inflammatory bowel disease. The orange sphere which contains the drug is only 0.02mm in diameter. The blue shell that surrounds it is a polymer: a protective coating which ensures that after the drug is orally ingested, it reaches the large intestine where it is needed without dissolving in the stomach. Slowly dissolving polymers like this one can also produce the gradual release of a drug, so that patients can take medication…

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