The project will focus on the development of hydrophobically modified polymers (polysaccharides) and their application as functional materials in controlled drug delivery.
On carefully characterized biopolymers such as pectin, chitosan and alginate, and their hydrophobically modified analogues, solution and gelation properties will be examined by different experimental techniques with the purpose of establishing their potential as carriers in drug release processes.
The interaction between mixed polymers, such as alginate and the biologically important mucin molecule will also be addressed. Polymers to be used in tailor-made formulations must be characterized in relation to their interaction with endogen substances, enzymes as well as the type of tissue the y will be exposed to in a considered formulation.
To gain insight into this matter, it is necessary to survey the interaction between drugs and the polymer matrix. Furthermore, to investigate the potential of these polymers in pharmaceutical formulations, it is important to study properties such as the rate of swelling of the polymer gels, the degree of penetration of drug substances through the gel matrix and interaction of the drug with the polymer at different conditions.
Finally, the effect of hydrophobic modification on release, degradability by colonic enzymes and bioadhesiveness will be evaluated. Among the experimental techniques that will be employed in this study are rheology, turbidimetry, small-angle neutron scattering, as well as intensity and dynamic light scattering.
In this project, simulations and theoretical calculations will constitute an additional tool in the understanding of the new polymer-based drug delivery systems.
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