The aim of the University of Bristol study, published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, was to confirm whether a humanoid chewing robot could assess medicated chewing gum. The robot is capable of closely replicating the human chewing motion in a closed environment. It features artificial saliva and allows the measurement of the xylitol released from chewing.
Saliva and artificial saliva solutions respectively were collected after five, ten, 15 and 20 minutes of continuous chewing and the amount of xylitol released was recorded. Dr Kazem Alemzadeh, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the research, said: “Bioengineering has been used to create an artificial oral environment that closely mimics that found in humans. 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.”
Nicola West, Professor in Restorative Dentistry in the Bristol Dental School and co-author, added: “The most convenient drug administration route to patients is through oral delivery methods. This research, utilising a novel humanoid artificial oral environment, has the potential to revolutionise investigation into oral drug release and delivery.”
Their most important finding is that the greatest amount of xylitol was released from the chewing gum within the first five minutes.