February 16, 2021

Injectable ‘Jello’, Soon-to-Be Medicine

Gelatine often conjures up images of hospital desserts, but new research from scientists at Stanford University in California may see the substance become a new form of medicine.

Gels, or “Jello”, are polymers mixed into fluids to form a gooey substance that can be used for a number of applications such as holding hair in place, fuel additives, and allowing contact lenses to float over an eye.

Eric Appel, assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford, claims that healing gels could potentially be injected into the human body, and the natural heat would allow the slow release of medicines over time.

The main aim is to ensure that the polymers and particles remain congealed at varying energy levels – mostly room temperature – and only disperse once exposed to the body’s temperature of 37.5 degrees.

Appel and his team announced in a paper published on 2 February that they have made promising advances in producing a temperature-resistant Jello, but more time will be needed to make it injectable and safe for human use.

He explained: “We are trying to make a gel that you could inject with a pin, and then you’d have a little blob that would dissolve away very slowly for three-to-six months to provide continuous therapy. This would be a game-changer for fighting critical diseases around the world.”