Patrick Nichols, Nicole Mortensen, Dallin Tingy, Antonio Vasquez and Jeff Bates
Molecular imprinted hydrogels can be made to have a high affinity for a certain compound or drug. A hydrogel can be loaded with a drug and upon a swelling action induced by a pH change or hydration process, the matrix can swell and release the drug. Our hydrogels mimic contact lenses for the purposes of ocular drug delivery. Our hydrogels were imprinted and tested with a prostaglandin derivative, bimatoprost used in the treatment for glaucoma. Major problems preventing entrance to clinical use are bioavailability and drug release kinetics. Our lenses were made to overcome these issues, and were tested for efficacy. The gels were synthesized and were tested to establish a clinically relevant drug delivery profile. Using UV-Vis Spectrophotometry we analyzed the drug released from the gels before, and after cycling. They show a desired and consistent dose release, and a kinetic profile that would indicate a large bioavailability. The testing would also indicate a strong reusability potential, as the hydrogels can release the same amount of drug for over 10,000 cycles (to simulate a daily use). Our samples were tested to show a 10 hour dose release time and they were able to withstand over 10,000 cycles of a swelling mechanical force without degradation or drug release alteration. We imaged the hydrogel lenses with an SEM to visualize if the matrix encountered deterioration over time due to the drug release mechanism. This is due to a need to understand long term use stability. The test results indicate a strong potential to be able to enter the market and be approved for clinical use.