Posted on 15 September 2017
Materials that control the release of an active drug have potential applications as smart drug delivery vehicles for use in medicine. For example, a gel that only releases its payload when brought into contact with the target, such as a tumour or inflamed tissue, can achieve targeted release.
In an innovative approach, PhD student Phillip Chivers, funded by EPSRC and working in Professor David Smith’s research team, created hybrid hydrogels that incorporate the active anti-inflammatory painkiller drug naproxen and release it in a directional manner depending on the surrounding environment.
Their hybrid gel combines two different components:
This approach leads to a shaped gel, which controls the release of the active drug. The image shows a drug-loaded gel that has been patterned into a stripe – if different sides of the stripe are exposed to solutions of different pH values, the drug is preferentially released in one direction.
Professor Smith said: “This is an important first step to showing we can make smart hydrogels that release an active agent depending on what they come into contact with.
“Future work will focus on developing systems which respond to a variety of biological stimuli so this directional release can be used to release drugs to important disease targets.”
Read the full story here.