The Science of Drug Delivery and Convergence in Ireland
As part of Silicon Republic’s Women Invent Tomorrow’s campaign, Professor Sally-Ann Cryan spoke on her science job within pharmaceutical research – specifically aimed at treating hard to reach anatomical regions of the lungs, developing drug-delivery research and convergent technology.
Sally-Ann Cryan is an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). She also works in research within the area of delivering drugs into the lungs, which is supported through organisations like the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, to name a few.
“What I do is translational and molecular pharmaceutics, and that is about enabling the new molecules to get to the clinic, particular where we are dealing with ‘difficulty-to-deliver’ cargoes in the body,” said Cryan.
“A lot of the current inhalers on the market are delivering small molecule drugs which are extremely potent at that site and that is the way they work, you don’t need a very efficient delivery system. The problem when we come into the new era of biotech molecules is that, for many of them, to be effective they must reach a specific site to target within a particular type of cell. They may also need to get down into the lower part of the lungs, and that’s not easy because of the complex anatomy there.”
Professor Cryan is now working on lung-based projects for delivery platforms to lung sites within lung and systematic diseases, such as;
- Inflammation – Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
The current demand has given way to engineering innovation for new inhalers and also new formulation of drugs and delivery enhancement.
Cryan also works as an investigator in the Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI. In addition to this, she is working on another EU-funded academic – industrial project at Dublin City University with Dr Andreas Heise investigating new hydrogels in drug delivery. Cryan also has a long standing working relationship with Aerogen, a Galway based company.
A Change in Drug Delivery in Ireland
Drug-Delivery research in Ireland has changed dramatically in Ireland due to a number of new research academia projects such as the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) –funded Irish Drug Delivery Network which marries industry and academia.
“I work with academics and clinicians who have molecules, proteins or genes or cells they want to have delivered, and I also work with pharmaceutical and medical device companies,” says Sally-Ann Cryan. “And the big area now is convergent technology, where you are putting therapeutics together with medical devices and often using material to enable that. We are at that interface where we can provide the know-how on what material to use, how to put that together and formulate it with a drug molecule so you can target your drug or use your device more effectively.”
Sally-Ann Cryan believes “Convergence is the big trend, bringing the aspects together”
“It is about putting those together so we have the right therapeutics with the right materials and the right devices for delivery. Ireland has a lot of expertise in these areas, this is something we should be able to do well.”
For the full article goto Silicon Republic.com