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Novel new drug delivery systems for ocular delivery


   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

  Dr Bridgeen Callan, Prof Colin Willoughby  Monday, February 27, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Intravitreal Injections (IVIs) are extremely effective for drug delivery, they can deliver large amounts of drug directly into the eye with minimal effect of the medications elsewhere in the body. However, the injections require regular visits to a health care provider and involves the penetration of a hypodermic needle (usually 30 gauge (0.3112 mm diameter)) directly into the eyeball. As well as being unpleasant for the patient, it needs a trained healthcare professional to deliver and therefore requires significant cost and time as well as some risks associated with the IVI, including permanent vision loss.

In order to improve convenience for patients, and reduce the risks and cost of IVIs, this proposal aims to use the latest nanotechnologies to provide an alternative delivery method for drug delivery to the back of the eye. This new delivery system will be formulated into an eye drop to allow for patient self-administration.

The research proposed will involve the use of polymers (large, regularly repeating molecules) to create nanosized vehicles, (some ten thousand times smaller than the hypodermic needle diameter), termed polymersomes for delivery to the eye.

There is potential for substantive benefit for patients with macular disease and, if successful, could replace current IVIs completely. The nature of the polymersome renders it adaptable to almost every disease medication. For patients suffering from long term chronic illnesses this could lead to an enhanced quality of life.

We are currently in the process of protecting the IP for this technology and with the addition for more pre-clinical data would potentially commercialise this research.

Please note: Applications for more than one PhD studentship are welcome, however if you apply for more than one PhD project within Biomedical Sciences, your first application on the system will be deemed your first-choice preference and further applications will be ordered based on the sequential time of submission. If you are successfully shortlisted, you will be interviewed only on your first-choice application and ranked accordingly. Those ranked highest will be offered a PhD studentship. In the situation where you are ranked highly and your first-choice project is already allocated to someone who was ranked higher than you, you may be offered your 2nd or 3rd choice project depending on the availability of this project.


References

Recommended reading:
1. Weng Y, Liu J, Jin S, Guo W, Liang X, Hu Z. et. al.; Nanotechnology-based strategies for treatment of ocular disease. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. 2017 7(3): 281-291.
2. Bachu RD, Chowdhury P, Al-Saedi ZHF, Karla PK and Boddu SHS. Ocular Drug Delivery Barriers—Role of Nanocarriers in the Treatment of Anterior Segment Ocular Diseases. Pharmaceutics 2018 10(1): 28-59
3. Martin C, Dolmazon E, Moylan K, Fowley C, Callan JF, and Callan B. A charge neutral, size tuneable polymersome capable of high biological encapsulation efficiency and cell permeation. Int. J. Pharmaceutics. 2015 481, 1 – 8.
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