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Robot with Built-in Humanoid Jaws Could Help Develop Medicated Chewing Gum

Researchers have recognized that medicated chewing gum is a novel, sophisticated drug delivery approach. However, at present, there is no gold standard for in vitro testing of drug release from chewing gum.

A close up of the humanoid chewing robot. Image Credit: Dr Kazem Alemzadeh, University of Bristol.

A chewing robot with built-in humanoid jaws has been demonstrated to offer the means for pharmaceutical companies to create medicated chewing gum.

The goal of the study by the University of Bristol, which was reported in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, was to verify whether a humanoid chewing robot could evaluate medicated chewing gum.

The robot has the ability to almost mimic the human chewing motion in a closed setting. It contains artificial saliva and enables the discharge of xylitol in the gum to be quantified.

The aim of the study was to compare the quantity of xylitol that was leftover in the gum between the human participants and the chewing robot. Moreover, the researchers intended to evaluate the quantity of xylitol that was released from chewing the gum.

The team identified that the chewing robot exhibited a release rate of xylitol comparable to human participants. The highest xylitol release happened in the first five minutes of chewing, and 20 minutes after chewing, only a very little amount of xylitol was leftover in the gum bolus, regardless of the chewing technique that was utilized.

Artificial saliva and saliva solutions were, respectively, collected following 5, 10, 15, and 20 minutes of constant chewing, and the quantity of xylitol discharged from the chewing gum was determined.

Bioengineering has been used to create an artificial oral environment that closely mimics that found in humans.

Dr Kazem Alemzadeh, Study Lead Researcher and Senior Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol

Alemzadeh added, “Our research has shown the chewing robot gives pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to investigate medicated chewing gum, with reduced patient exposure and lower costs using this new method.”

The most convenient drug administration route to patients is through oral delivery methods. This research, utilizing a novel humanoid artificial oral environment, has the potential to revolutionize investigation into oral drug release and delivery.”

Nicola West, Study Co-Author and Professor in Restorative Dentistry, Bristol Dental School

Journal Reference:

Alemzadeh, K., et al. (2020) Development of a Chewing Robot with Built-in Humanoid Jaws to Simulate Mastication to Quantify Robotic Agents Release from Chewing Gums Compared to Human Participants. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.


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