Nanoparticles to deliver drugs to the eye
04 August 2006
Scientists are developing an innovative way of delivering drugs to the eye using biodegradable materials.
The research is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Journal of Materials Chemistry.
University of Portsmouth based researcher Dr John Tsibouklis says biodegradable polymer nanoparticles show great potential as drug delivery devices for the eye - and could replace current techniques which can be inconvenient and bring unwanted side effects.
For example, eye drops need to be applied frequently to be effective, and the alternative - solid inserts placed inside the eye - must be later removed when they are finished with.
Dr Tsibouklis - an expert in biomaterials and drug delivery - says the answer to these problems is a drug delivery system based on biodegradable polymeric materials.
He said: "Such materials can be combined with the drugs so that the drug is released into the eye in a carefully controlled manner."
The release of the drug can be constant or in cycles, or triggered by a particular chemical signal. At the end of its useful life, the polymer which contained the drug is then broken down by the body's natural processes.
Rein Ulijn, a biomedical materials specialist at the University of Manchester, said: "A major challenge is to incorporate a two-way communication between the body and the polymeric materials, to create systems which recognise a disease specific biochemical process and respond to it by releasing a drug."
Dr Tsibouklis said that the systems hold significant promise for the pharmaceutical industry.
But he added: "Formulation stability, particle size uniformity, control of drug release rate, and the large-scale manufacture of sterile preparations are major developmental issues that need to be addressed."
with thanks to Sarah Corcoran for the original article
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