Smarter drug delivery via tunable implant coatings
Smart drug delivery — the release of drugs when and where they are needed in the body — is the promise of several recent technologies, including medical implants with coatings that release drugs. Coated implants can eliminate the need for multiple surgical procedures or dosing schedules while raising efficacy of the eluted drug. However, current drug-delivery polymers are limited to eluting a single drug over a continuous time period. They do not address the many situations in which more than one drug or a complex delivery profile is needed. This project will produce for the first time coatings that can sequentially release multiple drugs. It involves ultra-thin, polymeric coatings that could conform to devices of almost any shape and size and whose compositions are controlled on the nanometer scale to allow complex, tuned drug delivery. Such a coating could, for example, sequentially release drugs that address pain, inflammation, thrombosis, cell growth, and healing. This novel approach is simple and inexpensive and has high-impact applications, including coatings of implants (for example stents, sutures, and bone replacements), pills, and microparticles.