Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 614715
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Spain

Mid-Term Report Summary - NANOHEDONISM (A Photo-triggered On-demand Drug Delivery System for Chronic Pain)

The project pursues the development of injectable and biodegradable drug-loaded nanoparticles that release drugs after receiving externally-applied infrared laser light to achieve pulsatile release profiles on demand. In this project we are developing vehicles that transport drugs and release their cargo locally at the site of injection and during the time required to adjust the dose to the specific needs. Thus, a temporal and spatial control of the release of different drugs would be achieved. This technology would potentially allow the patient or the doctor to decide when to administer the drug in a minimally invasive manner (just with an injection) and to provide therapeutic analgesic doses for the time strictly necessary.

In fact, in a previous project with researchers from MIT we worked on the development of implantable NIR-responsible reservoirs containing aspart, a fast-acting analogue of insulin, able to achieve glycemic control upon irradiation in animal models (PNAS 2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1322651111); however, this implementation required surgery. The new project tries to go one step further by designing injectable capsules capable of releasing drugs on demand and remotely without the need of surgery, simply by injection.

Many conventional drug controlled release systems can allow a sustained release over time but do not permit a modulated release at any number of times adapted to the needs of the patient allowing them to meet their daily physical activity and needs. These conventional systems also cannot stop the release until the drug is depleted. However, there are many conditions that require the appropriate release of a given drug at a specific time such as diabetes, hormonal disorders, sciatica, etc. The project tries to overcome this limitation.

Today encapsulated drugs can be released in a controlled manner in response to specific biochemical stimuli or by taking advantage of the natural physiology of the host (passive release). Also the release can be activated in response to physical stimuli (light, electric field, magnetism, etc.). However, once this activation occurs there is nothing to stop it. The development of reversible systems that allow drug release where and when it is needed is the core of this project. Furthermore, a local drug release reduces and minimizes side effects in healthy tissues characteristic of systemic administrations.

These injectable nanoparticles are made of biocompatible materials and the nanoparticle synthesis is being carried out using microfluidic reactors and supported by computational fluid dynamics to manufacture and control the amount of drug contained in each of the particles, to produce them at a large scale, and also to avoid the characteristic heterogeneities which occur when using conventional batch reactors. The biocompatibility and efficacy of the developed nanocapsules is going to be validated in vitro and in vivo.

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