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Albumin particles for intra-articular delivery of celecoxib to treat osteoarthritic inflammation.

Project description

An albumin-based drug delivery system for osteoarthritis

Treatment of the autoimmune condition osteoarthritis (OA) is mainly symptomatic, with intra-articular (IA) delivery of free corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid being the best available options. However, the rapid clearance of these injected molecules from the joint following IA delivery necessitates multiple injections and renders delivery of these molecules inconvenient and poorly effective. To address this limitation, scientists of the EU-funded IA-NANO project propose to develop albumin particles loaded with the non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug, celecoxib. This long-acting delivery system is biocompatible and biodegradable, and should allow controlled release of the drug in the inflamed joint, thereby reducing the number of injections with free drug and overcoming system toxicity.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints and is predicted to become the fourth largest cause of disability in the world by 2020. Its complete mechanism is yet to be deciphered. Though it is not curable, several medications are prescribed to manage the symptomatic OA, of which the oral and topical medications have shortcomings and the better option is the intra-articular (IA) delivery of free corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid. However, IA delivery is challenging due to the rapid clearance of the free injected molecules from the joint space and outcomes are suboptimal in terms of efficacy and a need for repeated injections. Our objective therefore is to load a candidate drug in a long-acting delivery system and inject it directly into the inflamed knee of a rat model of OA, following in vitro bioassay screening in primary human synoviocytes. Thus, in this project, we propose to develop non-toxic, biocompatible and biodegradable albumin particles loaded with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, celecoxib. This method is expected to reduce the side-effects associated with oral administration of celecoxib. In addition, it will also increase the drug local concentration in the joint and the controlled release of the drug will lead to reduction of inflammatory biomarkers in joints. The project is in line with the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme focus area - Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing and UN Sustainable Development goal - Good Health and Well-Being. It will be carried out by the researcher and supervisors who are experts in DDSs development, OA therapy and translational pharmaceutics. Both the researcher and the host are expected to benefit in this collaboration and the researcher will gain experience that will increase her future employability. The project will have great societal impact and commercial potential and will also help increase Europe’s position as the leading source of cutting-edge research.


Net EU contribution
€ 196 590,72
4 Dublin

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Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 196 590,72