LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery - Research
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Three research pillars have been identified as key for enabling the development of the Center to a national and international focal point for cutaneous drug delivery research, i.e.
Regarding Novel Analytical Tools, developments in relation to large-scale facilities, notably synchrotron- (MAX IV) and neutron-based (ESS) methodologies are likely to form an internationally competitive experimental platform for soft matter research in the Øresund region, also providing opportunities to scientific collaborations in new constellations.
Considering this, as well as the capability of methods such as X-ray scattering/diffraction and neutron scattering/reflection to provide detailed information about structure and dynamics of formulation- and skin-related systems, connecting the research activities to such large-scale facilities represents a considerable opportunity for the Center.
In addition, there are additional technologies which offer novel opportunities in relation to cutaneous drug delivery research, such as confocal microscopies, various imaging modalities, and related techniques, as well as mass spectrometry-based analysis, allowing studies of the delivery systems themselves, but also of tissue penetration and metabolism.
Regarding Novel Drug Delivery Systems, large recent progress in the nanomaterials area have resulted in considerable current interest in such systems, and also provided novel opportunities within both drug delivery and diagnostics.
Both for more "traditional" nanomaterials, such as surfactant and polymer self-assemblies, and for more exploratory materials, such as various inorganic nanoparticles, recent research has illustrated opportunities to trigger both drug release and various biological responses by a range of parameters, including ionic strength, pH, and temperature, but also by reducing conditions/oxidative stress, and even presence of specific metabolites.
In addition, inorganic nanoparticles may be triggered by external fields such as light/NIR and magnetic fields, allowing simultaneous control of drug delivery and monitoring of therapeutic outcome in theranostic approaches. Again, therefore, embracing such developments is key for the success of the center.
With regards to Novel Biological Models, traditional ex vivo models such as pig skin need to be complemented, e.g., with a battery of model systems for detailed mechanistic studies on transport of both active components and drug carriers.
Furthermore, complementary ex vivo models of healthy and impaired skin is needed, ideally disease-specific, as are corresponding in vivo models, e.g., combined with various techniques for imaging of biological responses. For the latter types of substrates, collaborations with suitable dermatology groups will be developed.
With regards to indications, research during the first 3 years will aim to clarify factors determining aspects of key importance for cutaneous delivery of both low molecular weight and macromolecular drugs in the context of infection and inflammation.
In particular, research will address identification of effective/optimal drug, delivery system, and indication combinations, studies of drug loading and triggered release for these, skin and biofilm penetration of both drug and drug carrier, possibilities for follicular delivery, effects of delivery systems on drug stability, and ultimately on biological response in selected indications.
After the initial 3-year period, we anticipate to be able to add another field (skin cancer), for which the methodologies developed during the initial 3-year period will be employed, and coupled to additional key issues, notably targeting and specific cell uptake, internalization, and toxicity.
After another 2-3 years of development and growth of the Center, cutaneous vaccination is planned to be added as a third indication area.