Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Molecular Science and Nanotechnology
David K. Mills
Drug delivery refers to approaches, formulations, technologies, and systems for transporting a drug in the body. The purpose is to enhance the drug efficacy and to reduce side reactions, which can significantly improve treatment outcomes. Halloysite is a naturally occurred alumino-silicate clay with a tubular structure. It is a biocompatible material with a big surface area which can be used for attachment of targeted molecules. Besides, loaded molecules can present a sustained release manner in solution. These properties make halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) a good option for drug delivery.
In this study, a drug delivery system was built based on halloysite via three different fabrication methods: physical adsorption, vacuum loading and layer-by-layer coating. Methotrexate was used as the model drug. Factors that may affect performance in both drug loading and release were tested. Results showed that methotrexate could be incorporated within the HNTs system and released in a sustained manner. Layer-by-layer coating showed a better potential than the other two methods in both MTX loading and release. Besides, lower pH could greatly improve MTX loading and release while the increased number of polyelectrolytes bilayers had a limited impact.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone malignancy in children and adolescents. Postoperative recurrence and metastasis has become one of the leading causes for patient death after surgical remove of the tumor mass. A strategy could be a sustained release of chemotherapeutics directly at the primary tumor sites where recurrence would mostly occur. Then, this HNTs based system was tested with osteosarcoma cells in vitro to show the potential of delivering chemotherapeutics in the treatment of osteosarcoma. Methotrexate was incorporated within HNTs with a layer-bylayer coating technique, and drug coated HNTs were filled into nylon-6 which is a common material for surgical sutures in industry. Results showed that (1) methotrexate could be released in a sustained manner; (2) cytotoxicity test confirmed the biocompatibility of HNTs and methotrexate coated HNTs; (3) proliferation test confirmed the growth inhibition of released methotrexate on osteosarcoma cells; and (4) nylon-6 could prolong the sustained release of methotrexate from polyelectrolytes coated HNTs.
Another application comes from the prevention of surgical site infection. It is a common complication in surgery, which may prolong hospital stay, increase mortality rate, and cause additional financial burden for patients. By directly releasing antibiotics at the surgical site, it is supposed to enhance the drug efficacy and improve the treatment outcome. Therefore, the same HNTs based system was tested with E. coli in vitro to show the potential of delivering antibiotics to enhance the prevention of surgical site infection. Nitrofurantoin was incorporated within HNTs using the layer-by-layer coating technique, and the drug coated HNTs were filled into nylon-6 again. Results showed that (1) nitrofurantoin could be incorporated with this HNTs based drug delivery system, and released in a sustained manner; (2) nylon-6 could prolong the sustained release of nitrofurantoin from polyelectrolytes coated HNTs; and (3) released nitrofurantoin could severely inhibit E. coil growth. Therefore, a tunable drug delivery system based on HNTs was developed, and a great potential of medical application in drug delivery was shown.
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