Drug Delivery Research Lab. Coordinator: Luppi

Development of non-conventional dosage forms such as thin films, inserts, micro/nanoparticles and liposomes, obtained by suitable productive processes (solvent casting, freeze/spray drying, ionic gelation and thin film hydration), for the delivery of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), health-promoting bacteria and natural molecules

Research themes

Formulation of physical hydrogels based on natural and synthetic polymers and theirs use as innovative mucoadhesive materials, enhancers and for modified drug release.

Hydrogels are three-dimensional, hydrophilic, polymeric networks able to absorb large amounts of water without dissolving. Due to their soft consistency, they are similar to natural living tissue, and can be used for different pharmaceutical applications. The research is addressed to the production of thin films and lyophilized matrices for local or systemic delivery of active substances upon mucosal (vaginal, nasal and buccal) or cutaneous application. The choice of the appropriate polymeric material together with the use of the suitable productive technology allows to increase the residence time of the dosage form at the application site and modulate the release and/or permeation through the biological membranes.

Delivery of health-promoting bacteria and active metabolites.

Probiotics may represent a natural, alternative or complementary, approach to the use of drugs for the prophylaxis and treatment of diseases characterized by the local microbiota alterations.

The research is mainly focused on the development of: 1- gastroresistant symbiotic formulations for the oral administration of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli; 2- mucoadhesive vaginal inserts for the local release of lactobacilli; 3- liposomes for the administration of active metabolites produced by lactobacilli (biosurfactants with antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties) alone or in combination with antimicrobial drugs.

Development of cellulose fibers (Spanish Broom, cotton and flax fibers) as a new material for wound dressing.

Wound dressing play an important role in the pharmaceutical wound care market. Due to the absence of healing, antioxidant and antibacterial activity of cellulose based dressing, molecules with these specific properties can be associated in order to treat wounds. The research is focused on the development of new wound dressings carrying, in micro/nanosystems, healing polymers (hyaluronic acid, alginates) and natural antioxidant and antibacterial substances.

Lab members

Barbara Luppi (web site),

Federica Bigucci (web site),

Teresa Cerchiara (web site),

Angela Abruzzo (post-doc),

Barbara Giordani (PhD student)

Internship projects

Internship projects are mainly addressed to CTF, Pharmacy (RN), Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (Herbalist Techniques) students.

Main publications

Cerchiara, T., Abruzzo, A., Ñahui Palomino R.A., Vitali B., De Rose R., Chidichimo G., Ceseracciu L., Athanassiou A., Saladini B., Dalena F., Bigucci F.,Luppi B. (2017). “Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum L.) fibers impregnated with vancomycin-loaded chitosan nanoparticles as new antibacterial wound dressing: Preparation, characterization and antibacterial activity.” Eur J Pharm Sci. 99:105-112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejps.2016.11.028.

Trastullo, R., Abruzzo, A., Saladini, B., Gallucci, M.C., Cerchiara, T., Luppi, B., Bigucci, F. (2016). “Design and evaluation of buccal films as paediatric dosage form for transmucosal delivery of ondansetron.” Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 105:115-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpb.2016.05.026.

Vitali, B., Abruzzo, A., Parolin, C., Palomino, R.A., Dalena, F., Bigucci, F., Cerchiara, T.,Luppi, B. (2016). “Association of Lactobacillus crispatus with fructo-oligosaccharides and ascorbic acid in hydroxypropyl methylcellulose vaginal insert.” Carbohydr Polym. 136:1161-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.10.035.

Abruzzo, A., Cerchiara, T., Bigucci, F., Gallucci, M.C., Luppi, B. (2015). “Mucoadhesive Buccal Tablets Based on Chitosan/Gelatin Microparticles for Delivery of Propranolol Hydrochloride.” J Pharm Sci. 104:4365-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jps.24688.

Cerchiara, T., Abruzzo, A., di Cagno, M., Bigucci, F., Bauer-Brandl, A., Parolin, C., Vitali, B., Gallucci, M.C., Luppi, B. (2015). “Chitosan based micro- and nanoparticles for colon-targeted delivery of vancomycin prepared by alternative processing methods.” Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 92:112-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpb.2015.03.004.