By Gisella Edny

Pharmacy Student (2017)

In recent years, unanticipated outbreaks of diseases demanded an accelerated drug discovery; making the pharmaceutical industry one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Have you ever wondered how drugs are able to travel inside the body?

With the joint collaboration of chemistry, engineering, biology and mathematics; drug delivery systems are designed. These systems ensure the controlled delivery of drugs into the body to the desired location or organ, released and persistent for an optimal time. Scientific advancements allowed the manipulation of drugs to be readily accepted by the body, an innovation called in situ forming polymeric delivery systems (ISFPDS). ISFPDS tackles the problems faced in conventional drug delivery systems, e.g. biological incompatibility and deficient drug concentrations or inconsistency. By encapsulating the drug with a polymer, the microencapsulated drug will undergo gelatination- a process in which a gel coats around the encapsulated drug- during administration. Natural polymers and synthetic polymers are used to perform this drug delivery; different polymers possesses a unique mechanism of gelatination and extensive research needs to be done to understand the interaction of these polymers with biological processes. Based on the substances present in the route of delivery, the optimum physical conditions (i.e. pH, temperature) along with a series of biochemical reactions with the polymer itself, a gel would coat around the encapsulated drug. Once these gels arrive to the location, they are cleaved by naturally occurring biological enzymes in the body, thus, releasing the drug, localized in a certain area.

Without the coordination of the polymers with the drug and the biochemical process in the body, the drug would not be able to be properly delivered into the site of infection. Thus, the drug would otherwise be inept in curing diseases altogether.