Functional Ceramics in Biomedical Applications On the Use of Ceramics for Controlled Drug Release and Targeted Cell Stimulation

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Ceramics are distinguished from metals and polymers by their inorganic nature and lack of metallic properties. They can be highly crystalline to amorphous, and their physical and chemical properties can vary widely. Ceramics can, for instance, be made to resemble the mineral phase in bone and are therefore an excellent substitute for damaged hard tissue. They can also be made porous, surface active, chemically inert, mechanically strong, optically transparent or biologically resorbable, and all these properties are of interest in the development of new materials intended for a wide variety of applications. In this thesis, the focus was on the development of different ceramics for use in the controlled release of drugs and ions. These concepts were developed to obtain improved therapeutic effects from orally administered opioid drugs, and to reduce the number of implant-related infections as well as to improve the stabilization of prosthetic implants in bone.Geopolymers were used to produce mechanically strong and chemically inert formulations intended for oral administration of opioids. The carriers were developed to allow controlled release of the drugs over several hours, in order to improve the therapeutic effect of the substances in patients with severe chronic pain. The requirement for a stable carrier is a key feature for these drugs, as the rapid release of the entire dose, due to mechanical or chemical damage to the carrier, could have lethal effects on the patient because of the narrow therapeutic window of opioids. It was found that it was possible to profoundly retard drug release and to achieve almost linear release profiles from mesoporous geopolymers when the aluminum/silicon ratio of the precursor particles and the curing temperature were tuned.Ceramic implant coatings were produced via a biomimetic mineralization process and used as carriers for various drugs or as an ion reservoir for local release at the site of the implant. The formation and characteristics of these coatings were examined before they were evaluated as potential drug carriers. It was demonstrated that these coatings were able to carry antibiotics, bisphosphonates and bone morphogenetic proteins to obtain a sustained local effect, as they were slowly released from the coatings.