Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

P3: Microstructured thin-film interpenetrating composites for drug release (R. Adelung)

The development of advanced drug delivery systems with predictable and reliable pharmacokinetic properties, needed for the localized treatment of several diseases such as Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), has been pursued for a long time to minimize side effects and enhance the efficacy of drugs. However, the requirements on such systems are complex, including a controlled delivery of drug at a constant rate for several days without any burst release, biocompatibility and responsiveness to the environmental conditions. Therefore, new and special designed drug delivery systems have to be developed, that can fulfill these strict requirements.

In the scope of the first project phase, we developed, in close contact with different disciplines of medicine, a new method for the fabrication of a functional drug delivery system based on an inactive polymer matrix filled with a network of interconnected microchannels. The microchannels act as the drug reservoir while simultaneously influencing the drug release. By tailoring the microchannel density inside the polymer matrix, as well as the number of channels exposed to the surrounding medium, the release profile can be precisely controlled with high reproducibility. The release kinetics of the drug delivery system was systematically studied and their functionality was demonstrated by in vitro investigation of cellular reactions of GBM and healthy cells of the central nervous system.

In the next project phase, we will focus on further improving and tailoring the pharmacokinetic properties of our microstructured drug delivery systems to meet specific demands, e.g. as required in GBM treatment. This will include the fabrication of advanced drug delivery systems with e.g. tailorable release profiles, multi, sustainable and long-time release. Based on the requirements of the brains environmental conditions we will further adapt the drug delivery system to meet the specific demands of the planned in vitro and in vivo tests. Especially for the latter, the geometry of the final drug release system has to be adapted to the size and geometry of the tumor, which will be done by employing 3D additive manufacturing.

In order to achieve a drug delivery system that meets the practical requirements of today’s medicine we will continue to work on a highly interdisciplinary basis.