Professor Partch Pursues Research in Drug Overdose Remediation:
A New Venue for Particles in Biotechnology
Nanoparticles for in vivo controlled and selective removal of
overdosed drugs from blood are virtually unknown, yet hold great
potential for saving lives. The drugs may be legal and administered
by an MD, may be the illegal "street" type, or even agents of bioterrorism.
The opposite technology, controlled time and targeted release of
therapeutic agents, is mature and employed in the delivery of several
common pharmaceuticals. This is a progress report on a pioneering
interdisciplinary effort being carried out by CAMP Professor Richard
Partch, CAMP graduate student Evon Powell ( who received a poster
session award on this topic), and several Co- Principal Investigators
affiliated with the University of Florida including one of Partch's
former Clarkson Ph.D. students, Visiting Professor Young-Hwan Lee
from Kyungwon University in Seoul, Korea.
The goals of this research are to prepare, characterize and evaluate
the in vitro and in vivo ability of several types of dispersed phases
to absorb, bind and/or otherwise detoxify some of the most commonly
overdosed chemicals that cause large numbers of deaths annually.
Chemists like Partch play a pivotal role in the preparation and
surface activation of particles that are undergoing evaluation by
anesthesiologists on the team.
1.Percent efficiency of binding (removal) of a toxic
antidepressant from blood plasma by ethyl butyrate microemulsions.
dispersed phases under investigation include:
1. Oil-in-water microemulsions designed to absorb lipophilic toxin
molecules. The microemulsions may be stabilized by a monomeric or
polymerizable surfactant. Data in Figure 1 shows that the microemulsion
(ME-I; ME-II) approach has merit. Note the rapid lowering of the
blood plasma concentration of a frequently overdosed prescribed
antidepressant. On the same scale, 100% of cocaine is removed. The
efficiency is limited by the composition and amount of microemulsion
employed. For example, one composed of triglycerides and PEG removes
90% of 5 ÁM bupivacaine local anesthetic from saline and 80% from
each blood plasma and blood.
2. Hydrophilic polymer microgels with pores filled with oil. In
preliminary tests this type of dispersed phase shows less promise
for drug removal than the microemulsion systems.
3. Hard or hard shell particles with high surface area having molecularly
templated pores and/or with surfaces chemically modified, with binding
sites that target a molecular feature unique to a toxin in question.