In a series of lab tests, the UBC researchers loaded the implantable device with the drug docetaxel and triggered the drug release at a dosage suitable for treating diabetic retinopathy. They found that the implantable device kept its integrity with negligible leakage over 35 days.
They also monitored the drug's biological effectiveness over a given period, testing it against two types of cultured cancer cells, including those found in the prostate. They found that they were able to achieve reliable release rates.
"The docetaxel retained its pharmacological efficacy for more than two months in the device and was able to kill off the cancer cells," says Pirmoradi.
The UBC device offers improvements upon existing implantable devices for drug delivery, says Chiao.
"Technologies available now are either battery operated and are too large for treating the eye, or they rely on diffusion, which means drug release rates cannot be stopped once the device is implanted a problem when patients' conditions change."
Pirmoradi says it will be several years before the UBC device is ready for patient use. "There's a lot of work ahead of us in terms of biocompatibility and performance optimization."
The team is also working to pinpoint all the possible medical applications for their device so that they can tailor the mechanical design to particular diseases.
|Contact: Lorraine Chan|
University of British Columbia