Superhydrophobic materials enable controlled drug release

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A new mechanism of drug release using 3D superhydrophobic materials has been developed in the US.

The superhydrophobic materials are said to exploit air as a removable barrier to control the rate at which drug is released.

The study was published on 16 January 2012 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

According to a statement, Boston University graduate student Stefan Yohe and Dr Yolonda Colson, director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Cancer Center, prepared drug-loaded superhydrophobic meshes from biocompatible polymers using an electrospinning fabrication method.

By monitoring drug release in aqueous solution and mesh performance in cytotoxicity assays, the team is said to have demonstrated that the rate of drug release correlates with the removal of the air pocket within the material and that the rate of drug release can be maintained over an extended period.

‘The ability to control drug release over a two- to three-month period is of significant clinical interest in thoracic surgery, with applications in pain management and in the prevention of tumour recurrence after surgical resection,’ said Colson, who is also a thoracic surgeon at BWH with an active practice focused on the treatment of lung-cancer patients.

According to the authors, this approach, along with the design requirements for creating 3D superhydrophobic drug-loaded materials, should facilitate the further exploration and evaluation of these drug-delivery materials in a variety of cancer and non-cancer applications.

This research was supported by Boston University, the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, the Coulter Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.