(166c) A Drug Delivery Experiment Using Alginate Microspheres
Controlled release drug delivery has recently become a major research and development focus area of today’s pharmaceutical industry. New drug delivery systems are continually being designed to dispense a drug at a predetermined rate, to a target area in order to maintain a therapeutic concentration of drug at a desired location in the body. Rowan University is currently working with the Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (ERC-SOPS) of Rutgers University to develop educational materials involving drug delivery technology. We describe a drug delivery module in which students investigate factors affecting drug release from hydrogel drug delivery systems. Calcium alginate microspheres and other geometries are produced containing a model drug, limonene (yellow food dye) or bovine serum albumin. Using a guided inquiry approach, students investigate the effects of surface area, degree of cross linking, drug molecular weight, and stirring speed. Students learn introductory concepts related to experimental design and data analysis, mass transfer, and biomaterials. Calculus and chemistry concepts are also reinforced.