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  • A Collagen Based Cryogel Bioscaffold that Generates Oxygen for Islet Transplantation ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS Razavi, M., Primavera, R., Kevadiya, B. D., Wang, J., Buchwald, P., Thakor, A. S. 2020
  • Emerging Nano- and Micro-Technologies Used in the Treatment of Type-1 Diabetes. Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland) Primavera, R., Kevadiya, B. D., Swaminathan, G., Wilson, R. J., De Pascale, A., Decuzzi, P., Thakor, A. S. 2020; 10 (4)


    Type-1 diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels due to a failure of insulin secretion from beta cells within pancreatic islets. Current treatment strategies consist of multiple, daily injections of insulin or transplantation of either the whole pancreas or isolated pancreatic islets. While there are different forms of insulin with tunable pharmacokinetics (fast, intermediate, and long-acting), improper dosing continues to be a major limitation often leading to complications resulting from hyper- or hypo-glycemia. Glucose-responsive insulin delivery systems, consisting of a glucose sensor connected to an insulin infusion pump, have improved dosing but they still suffer from inaccurate feedback, biofouling and poor patient compliance. Islet transplantation is a promising strategy but requires multiple donors per patient and post-transplantation islet survival is impaired by inflammation and suboptimal revascularization. This review discusses how nano- and micro-technologies, as well as tissue engineering approaches, can overcome many of these challenges and help contribute to an artificial pancreas-like system.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/nano10040789

    View details for PubMedID 32325974

  • Engineering shape-defined PLGA microPlates for the sustained release of anti-inflammatory molecules. Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society Di Francesco, M., Primavera, R., Summa, M., Pannuzzo, M., Di Francesco, V., Di Mascolo, D., Bertorelli, R., Decuzzi, P. 2019


    Over the years, nanoparticles, microparticles, implants of poly(D,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) have been demonstrated for diverse biomedical applications. Yet, initial burst release and optimal modulation of the release profiles limit their clinical use. Here, shape-defined PLGA microPlates (μPLs) were realized for the sustained release of two anti-inflammatory molecules, the natural polyphenol curcumin (CURC) and the corticosteroid dexamethasone (DEX). Under the electron microscope, μPLs appeared as square prisms with an edge length of 20 μm. The top-down fabrication process allowed the authors to vary, readily and systematically, the μPL height from 5 to 10 μm and the PLGA mass from 1 to 5, 10 and 20 mg. 'Taller' particles realized with higher PLGA concentrations encapsulated more drug reaching on average values of about 150 pg/μPL, for both CURC and DEX. The μPL height and PLGA concentration had major effects on drug release, too. Under sink conditions, DEX release from tall μPLs at 1 h reduced from 50% to 10% and 2% for the 5, 10 and 20 mg PLGA configurations, respectively. Also, DEX was released more slowly from taller as compared to short μPLs. The opposite trend was observed for CURC, possibly for its lower hydrophobicity and molecular weight as compared to DEX. This was also confirmed by quantifying the free energy of translocation for the two drugs via molecular dynamics simulations. Finally, the anti-inflammatory activity of μPLs was tested in vitro on LPS-stimulated rat monocytes and in vivo on a murine model of UVB-induced skin burns. Both in vitro and in vivo, the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α) was significantly reduced by the application of μPLs as compared to the free compounds. In vivo, one single topical deposition of CURC-μPLs outperformed multiple, free CURC applications. This work demonstrates that geometry and polymer density can be effectively used to modulate the pharmacological performance of microparticles and mitigate the initial burst release.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.12.039

    View details for PubMedID 31899267

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