Researchers at Ireland's Waterford Institute of Technology have been awarded nearly $1 million to test and develop transdermal medications for conditions such as non-melanoma skin cancer.
The drugs will be of high potency, meaning a quantity of the candidate weighing less than a grain of sugar could be efficacious. That's why the manufacturing facilities of Ireland's Eirgen Pharma are also being deployed in the drug delivery initiative.
"Currently, many drugs are taken orally or injected directly into the bloodstream where they travel around the body. This is very inefficient as most of the drug taken does not reach the target organ that you wish to treat. In addition, many of the drugs used today are highly toxic and delivery of these drugs around the body can result in debilitating side effects. If we can deliver these drugs directly to the target across the skin, for example in skin cancer treatment, we can maximize the therapeutic effect and minimize the unpleasant side effects," said WIT's Dr. Peter McLoughlin in a release.
McLoughlin is also the principal investigator of the affiliated Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre, which touts itself as the "lead partner in a European-funded transdermal research network with industry and academic partners in Ireland and the U.K."
The research center recently held a seminar on the challenges in dermal formulation and analysis, during which participants discussed the use of drug delivery devices like microneedles and transdermal patches, according to Waterford Today.
The €838,000 ($909,942) in funding comes from the European Union's Marie Curie Industry Academia Partnership and Pathways program. The money will be used to hire 5 more scientists to the transdermal drug delivery partnership over the next four years. The collaboration also includes Ireland's Cardiff University, and An-eX Analytical Services, also based in Cardiff.
"We plan to commercialize the results of this research in the form of patents and licensing," McLoughlin said in an explanation on the research center's website. "Also, this project is a major milestone in the development of the PMBRC and builds upon existing research in drug delivery in the center."