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Nanoparticle coatings for improved pharmaceutical delivery

Research Area: Colloid science, pharmaceutical chemistry

Degree: Honours

Supervisors: Prof Clive Prestidge and Dr Spomenka Simovic

Description: Colloids and nanoparticles are commonly employed as carriers for active pharmaceuticals and are increasingly used for topical, oral, ocular and parenteral (intravenous or intramuscular) drug delivery(1). In the search for novel drug delivery vehicles it has become highly desirable to modify the surface chemistry and structure of a carrier system for improved stability (in vitro and in vivo) and to facilitate controlled and targeted release characteristics. Conventionally, polymers and surfactants are used for surface modification of colloidal delivery systems; however these may result in only limited control of drug release and non-ideal stability in the bio-environment, e.g. low pH of the stomach. Nanoparticle coatings(2) offers an alternative with numerous potential advantages over molecular coatings and will be further explored in this project.

Experiment Approach: A range of nanoparticle coated drug delivery systems based on emulsions and liposomes will be prepared and characterised using a wide range of colloid and surface techniques. These devices will be loaded with both water soluble (hydrophilic) and water insoluble (hydrophobic) therapeutic agents (including proteins and anti-cancer drugs). The role of the nanoparticle coating in controlling drug release and in protecting the drug from the biological environment will be investigated through a range of in vitro and in vivo methods. New opportunities in colloid-based pharmaceutical delivery will be exploited.

nanoparticle coated emulsion droplet system

A nanoparticle coated emulsion droplet system (2)

1) 'Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms: Dispersed Systems', HA Lieberman, MM Rieger and GS Banker (Eds), (1996), Marcel Dekker, Inc, New York, Vols 1 and 2.
2) S. Simovic and C. A. Prestidge, 'Hydrophilic Silica Nanoparticles at the PDMS Droplet-Water Interface', Langmuir, 19, 3785-3792, 2003 and 'Hydrophobic Silica Nanoparticles at the PDMS Droplet-Water Interface', Langmuir, 19, 8364-8370, 2003.