Microfabricated drug delivery systems: from particles to pores
Microfabrication techniques which permit the creation of therapeutic delivery systems that possess a combination of structural, mechanical, and perhaps electronic features may surmount challenges associated with conventional delivery of therapy. In this review, delivery concepts are presented which capitalize on the strengths of microfabrication. Possible applications include micromachined silicon membranes to create implantable biocapsules for the immunoisolation of pancreatic islet cells—as a possible treatment for diabetes—and sustained release of injectable drugs needed over long time periods. Asymmetrical, drug-loaded microfabricated particles with specific ligands linked to the surface are proposed for improving oral bioavailability of peptide (and perhaps protein) drugs. In addition, microfabricated drug delivery systems ranging from transdermal microneedles to implantable microchips will be discussed.