iLoad - Reloadable drug delivery fabric from Schoeller
9th May 2011, Sevelen
According to Schoeller Textil, holistic health is now a major trend and it is becoming a key economic factor for many sectors and for many companies. Accordingly, the Swiss high-tech textiles company is launching a new technology at next month’s Techtextil exhibition in Frankfurt which aims to offer improvement to the status quo in the areas of wellbeing, prevention and therapy in the context of textiles.
The innovation, designated iLoad, is a textile carrier material which can be individually loaded and regenerated with beneficial and therapeutic substances. iLoad is targeted towards medical wellness, workwear and sportswear markets. Additionally, Schoeller says, the release of drugs is also possible with the iLoad-System and in Frankfurt, the company is looking for contact with potential new partners.
Schoeller says that more than seven years of practical research and development have made the breakthrough of iLoad possible. The company says that the carrier materials it has developed are proving to be stable and easy to load and are permanently wash fast. In the forthcoming months, Schoeller aims to further advance the evaluation of additional drug manufacturers and will implement appropriate field tests.
According to Schoeller, iLoad stands for intelligent loading, release, washing and reloading. “The iLoad system consists firstly of an eligible base fabric onto which a special donor layer is applied and anchored. In the subsequent loading process, the donor layer, which coats every fibre of the fabric, is combined with a specific emulsion with the required active substances, for example from the area of homeopathy,” says Schoeller’s marketing communications manager Dagmar Signer.
“Like a magnet, the negatively charged donor layer attracts the positively charged customized active agent emulsion and stores it like a sponge. The loading process takes just a few minutes and can be carried out using only the rinse programs in both industrial and domestic washing machines,” Ms Signer adds.
Triggered by warmth, vibration, moisture and perspiration, the constant transdermal unloading process is said to commence and release the substance in the donor layer onto the skin, where it can develop its full effect. The desorption time, i.e. the length of time for the release of the active agent, can Schoeller says, be adapted for specific purposes.
The substances stored in the emulsion are tailored to the desired application. In the next wash, any residual substances which may be present are said to be completely unloaded and the iLoad fabric regenerated in this manner can be loaded with a new, user-defined active substance.
iLoad hybrid model
At Techtextil in Frankfurt, Schoeller says it will be showing a further milestone for this new textile territory. “We will be showing a regenerating hybrid model. The 2-dimensional iLoad hybrid tissues are hydrophilic on one side, storing the desired agent and releasing it towards the skin. On the opposite side, the mutual hydrophobic barrier acts as a substance-free zone. Known examples of this function principle are nicotine or hormone patches. Schoeller is adding this hybrid onto textile surfaces,” says Dagmar Signer.
Serving future markets
“iLoad is initially intended to address the areas of medical wellness, sports and workwear. Conceivable examples may address sleep disorders, neurodermatitis and colds,” Ms Signer says, Adding:
“Other foreseeable agents may be for skin care, to revitalize the wearer or for long lasting freshness. In addition, patients with decubitus ulcers (bedsores) may find some relief with iLoad. Via the textiles, the active agents are continuously dispersed in exactly the right area. Cosmetics, wellness, anti-aging and workwear are growth markets for which iLoad can be appropriately and efficiently used.”
Schoeller says that parallel to this, the health sector is a further significant sales market. The delivery of prescription medication in cooperation with medical staff is one aim of this ambitious project.
High functional requirements and safety criteria for iLoad
Schoeller explains that while textiles with a ‘release effect’ are not unknown, they have failed to become really established due to poor performance. The company says it has been working on this innovation for many years and came closer to the ambitious functional and safety parameters only in small incremental steps.
Through a systematic matching of donor layer, cross-linking and active substance emulsion, Schoeller says a sophisticated highly-efficacious carrier material has come into being, which has proven stable and permanent in tests at up to 60 °C in over 100 washing cycles.
“iLoad also easily passed the cytotoxicity test. All the components of the system are subject to the most stringent textile standard worldwide, bluesign. In the next step, effective agent variants will be dosed and tested with appropriate partners,” Dagmar Signer concludes.
Author: Billy Hunter