The present multi-disciplinary research prograrnme aims at the development of novel molecular and nanoscale drug delivery systems. The r esearch will be directed to the production of liposomes, molecular delivery systems based on dendrimers, lipid/ polymer aggregates, microgels and microspheres. The new microparticulated systems will be extensively characterized regarding their physical, chemical and clinical properties and interaction with biological material. Kinetic studies of the release behaviour of the active ingredients from the new drug delivery systems will be carried out and mathematical models will be developed to describe the release kinetics. Specifically, the research efforts will be focused on the following scientific and industrial objectives:
1. Preparation of functional and stabilized liposomes in which biologically active compounds will be incorporated. Active ingredients in liposomes will be protected by the incorporation of appropriate photostabilizers and antioxidant additives.
2. Preparation of aggregates from liposomes and polymeric surfactants and incorporation of active compounds The new delivery systems will be suitable candidates as synthetic vectors for the transfection of cells with biologically active compounds (e.g. nucleic acids in gene therapy).
3. Preparation of dendrimers based nanoparticles and the incorporation of active compounds within the molecular cavities of dendrimers. 4. Preparation of novel carriers in the form of nano and microspheres in which biologically active compounds will be incorporated
5. In vitro and in-vivo drug delivery studies of the new formulations. 6. Kinetics of drug release from the various systems prepared
Potential applications (e.g. new transdermal and oral drug delivery devices) will be based on advances in our understanding of the mechanism and kinetics of drug release from molecular and nano scale drug delivery systems, and the processes by which the systems are manufactured. Equally important will be the investigation and the quantifications of the relationships between process parameters and the release performance of the new delivery systems. It is envisaged that the new delivery systems will:
Prolong the action of the drug in the body through slow release of the active ingredient
Provide control over the site of release, the onset, and the intensity of action of the active ingredient
Increase the protection of the active molecules from light and oxygen
Improve the effectiveness of administration
Increase the solubilization of lipophilic or hydrophilic moleculesImprove the tissue and organ specificity (targeting properties)
All of the results of this study will have direct implications in the development of a new generation of molecular / nano scale controlled drug delivery systems. The results of this work is expected to find application in the biochemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food, and agrochemical industries.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
WC1N 1AX London