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J Control Release. 2012 Jun 10;160(2):164-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Jan 14.

Development and characterization of a novel drug nanocarrier for oral delivery, based on self-assembled β-casein micelles.

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Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.


β-casein is an amphiphilic protein that self-organizes into well-defined core-shell micelles. We developed these micelles as efficient nanocarriers for oral drug delivery. Our model drug is celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory hydrophobic drug utilized for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, now also evaluated as a potent anticancer drug. This system is unique as it enables encapsulation loads >100-fold higher than other β-casein/drug formulations, and does not require additives as do other formulations that have high loadings. This is combined with the ability to lyophilize the formulation without a cryoprotectant, long-term physical and chemical stability of the resulting powder, and fully reversible reconstitution of the structures by rehydration. The dry dosage form, in which >95% of the drug is encapsulated, meets the daily dose. Cryo-TEM and DLS prove that drug encapsulation results in micelle swelling, and X-ray diffraction shows that the encapsulated drug is amorphous. Altogether, our novel dosage form is highly advantageous for oral administration.

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