Polymeric Micro- and Nanofabricated Devices for Oral Drug Delivery
- Author(s): Fox, Cade
- Advisor(s): Desai, Tejal A
- et al.
While oral drug administration is by far the most preferred route, it is accompanied by many barriers that limit drug uptake such as the low pH of the stomach, metabolic and proteolytic enzymes, and limited permeability of the intestinal epithelium. As a result, many drugs ranging from small molecules to biological therapeutics have limited oral bioavailability, precluding them from oral administration. To address this issue, microfabrication has been applied to create planar, asymmetric devices capable of binding to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and releasing drug at high concentrations, thereby increasing oral drug uptake. While the efficacy of these devices has been validated in vitro and in vivo, modifying their surfaces with nanoscale features has potential to refine their properties for enhanced drug delivery. This dissertation first presents an approach to fabricate polymeric microdevices coated with nanowires in a rapid, high throughput manner. The nanowires demonstrate rapid drug localization onto the surface of these devices via capillary action and increased adhesion to epithelial tissue, suggesting that this fabrication technique can be used to create devices with enhanced properties for oral drug delivery. Also presented are microdevices sealed with nanostraw membranes. The nanostraw membranes provide sustained drug release by limiting drug efflux from the devices, prevent drug degradation by limiting influx of outside biomolecules, and enhance device bioadhesion by penetrating into the mucus layer of the intestinal lining. Finally, an approach that dramatically increases the capacity and efficiency of drug loading into microdevices over previous methods is presented. A picoliter-volume printer is used to print drug directly into device reservoirs in an automated fashion. The technologies presented here expand the capabilities of microdevices for oral drug delivery by incorporating nanoscale structures that enhance device bioadhesion, tunability of drug release, and drug protection and also provide a more cost-effective and scalable approach to drug loading.