Green chemistry is being employed to develop revolutionary drug delivery methods that are more effective and less toxic and could benefit millions of patients.
Chemists at The University of Nottingham are developing new methods for coating drugs in plastics, using methods that do not damage the latest generation of delicate biopharmaceutical drugs which are at the cutting edge of modern medical treatment.
Conventional methods of coating drugs can use high temperatures and harsh solvents damaging the active components of biopharmaceuticals before they have even reached the patient. But using green chemistry techniques pioneered at Nottingham, the bioactive elements of the drug remain completely effective, so the patient receives the maximum benefit of the therapy. The plastic is designed to release the drug over a controlled period of time; minimising the number of injections a patient will need, and maximising the effect of the drug.
The principles of green chemistry herald a radical new approach that is benign by design both in terms of the process itself, its impact on patients and on the environment. Green chemistry promises to make the chemical industry cleaner and safer, while producing better, purer products in the process.
In a presentation at the British Association for the Advancement of Science Conference in York on September 12, Professor Steve Howdle outlined the green chemistry processes being pioneered at The University of Nottingham, particularly the use of supercritical fluids to replace conventional solvents such as benzene and chloroform.
Professor Howdles research focuses on exploiting the unique properties of supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). A supercritical fluid is a solvent, with physical properties between those of a gas and a liquid. At near-room temperature and under modest pressure, supercritical carbon dioxide blurs the boundaries between liquid and gaseous states.
|Contact: Professor Steve Howdle|
University of Nottingham