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Microscale Material Strategies for Drug Delivery Applications


As the global market for next generation therapeutics continues to expand, there is a growing need to ensure that these strategies remain accessible. One strategy that has been historically successful in the context of pharmaceuticals is to develop new dosage forms to better conform to the clinical needs of the end user, which has been successful in the field of contraceptives, anti-psychotics, and other therapeutic areas. However, as our understanding of the underlying biology of disease and our ability to more easily generate highly defined microscale materials matures as it has in the last several decades, we have the ability to now adapt both the therapeutic and the dosage form to specific clinical indication. Manipulation of free-standing microscale materials that have the ability to function on biological length scales opens up the possibility of generating therapeutics that can be finely tuned to specific clinical needs, but has been historically limited by the intrinsic properties of conventional materials. Here, we present two examples of adapting a material platform to meet both a clinical need and a need for microscale materials that better conform to pharmaceutical standards. First, we discuss the use of polymer blends as a strategy to reduce the mismatch between useful lifetime and material residence times in long-acting drug eluting implants. Next, we discuss the development of a novel strategy for fabricating planar microdevices for oral protein delivery, composed entirely of materials used in existing FDA approved products, and how we can use the flexibility of this technique to understand how microscale materials behave in the gastrointestinal tract. These findings open the door to developing new, and more accessible, therapeutics to meet the diversifying needs of patients and providers on a global scale.

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