PAUSE-ANR Ukraine - PAUSE-ANR Ukraine

CARBOn nanotubes for the delivery of therapeutic molecules through the DERMis – CARBO2DERM_Ukraine

Submission summary

The objective of CARBO²DERM is the development of a transdermal drug delivery (TDD) platform for the intradermal delivery of therapeutic molecules using electroporation in order to temporarily increase the permeability of the skin and make possible the delivery of molecules whose size is too large to allow a simple passive diffusion. In CARBO²DERM, two TDD mechanisms are targeted, diffusion and electrophoresis, which concern neutral and charged molecules, respectively. These two mechanisms condition the type of interaction between the molecule and the reservoir. This reservoir is the central part of our project and consists of an electrically-conducting nanocomposite which should be able to first, contain the drug without leakage in the absence of electrical stimulation and then, permeabilize the skin and release the drug when under electrical voltage. Such kind of device could open the path to eliminating the use of needles, and potentially improving the quality of care of patients, especially those needing repeated injections. Scientific challenges to accomplish this are numerous and require an interdisciplinary approach, combining Materials Science, Biophysics and Electrical Engineering. Our starting idea is to develop a platform based on a nanocomposite material containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with a biocompatible hydrogel polymer matrix, which could be tailored in order to host different kinds of drugs (neutral: insulin for diabetes; charged: nucleic acids for DNA vaccination) for different applications. CNTs are used to improve both mechanical and electrical properties of the nanocomposite material. The electrical behaviour of such a material is non-standard because of the complexity of the microstructure and the unavoidable presence of ions, leading to a mixture of both ionic and electronic conduction. The percolation threshold of the CNTs in such a complex system needs to be determined in order to adapt the amount of CNTs. The microstructure plays a central role on key parameters such as the amount of drug which can be stored, the release rate, the electrical conductivity and electrical stimulation conditions. The presence of CNTs is also expected to allow decreasing the voltage threshold to reach the permeabilization of the skin. The microstructure itself depends on the concentration of CNTs, their surface chemistry, the concentration and nature of polymer(s) in the hydrogel, the dispersion procedure, the elaboration process and the drying conditions (porosity), which are all interconnected. The electrical stimulation profile needs to be optimized in real conditions (skin), requiring complex in situ electrical characterization. The actual delivery (ex vivo, in vivo) also needs to be addressed. CARBO²DERM aims to overcome these scientific challenges to allow the development of an original (no existing equivalent) and versatile TDD platform in which the nature and composition of the nanocomposite can be tailored depending on the application, with very promising potential in the biomedical field.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 35,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 6 Months

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