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Novel drug delivery systems for Schizophrenia treatment

School of Pharmacy

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Dr E Larraneta Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

This PhD project aims to develop, characterise and test a new type of implantable device to provide sustained antipsychotic drug delivery for schizophrenia treatment.
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder affecting ca. 7 per 1000 adults globally. It requires long-term treatment with antipsychotic drugs. Patients with schizophrenia frequently discontinue treatment (up to 74% of them within the first 18 months). Non-adherence to treatment increases the risk of relapse, hospitalisation and suicide. Moreover, the economic burden of relapse can cost the NHS up to £15,000/year per patient. Therefore, the development of systems capable of providing unattended-prolonged drug delivery have potential to improve schizophrenia treatment.
The proposed devices will be implanted by a healthcare professional in a minimally-invasive way. Once in place, the implant will not generate discomfort or pain. They will be able to provide continuous unattended drug delivery for up to 6 months. These devices will be made of medical-grade bioresorbable polymers. Accordingly, they will be biodegraded after administering their drug cargo and do not require extraction. Importantly, drug administration the devices will be design to maximise drug concentration within the brain, while reducing the amount of drug in the systemic circulation. This will contribute significantly to reducing the drug doses required, while minimising the side effects of the treatment. Consequently, the proposed implants have potential to significantly improve the quality of life of schizophrenic patients.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date
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