Biodegradable polyanhydrides as drug delivery systems

  • Dan Fei

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Polyanhydrides are useful biodegradable vehicles for controlled drug delivery. In aqueous media the breaking of the anhydride bonds resulting in gradually polymer fragments collapse and release drugs in a controlled manner. In this study, two new biodegradable polyanhydrides copolymers were synthesised using a melt-polycondensation method. The first is poly (bis (p-carboxyphenoxy)-2-butene-co-sebacic acid) (CP2B: SA), which has double bonds along the polymer backbone. The second is crosslinked poly (glutamic acid-sebacic acid-co-sebacic acid) (GluSA: SA), where the conjugated unit of glutamic acid with sebacic acid (glutamic acid-SA) acted as a crosslinking fragment in producing the crosslinking polymer. The two polymers were applied to preparation of microspheres with bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a model protein, using both double emulsion solvent evaporation and spray drying methods. The characterisation of the microspheres, morphology, particle size, and drug loading, was studied. The in vitro hydrolytic degradation of polymers and blank microspheres was monitored using IR, GPC, and DSC. In vitro drug release behaviour was also studied. Though the studies showed cleavages of anhydride bonds occurred rapidly (<5 days), bulks of the polymer microspheres could be observed after a few weeks to a month; and only around 10-35% of the protein was detectable in a four-week period in vitro. We found the pH of the medium exerts a large impact on the release of the protein from the microspheres. The higher the pH, the faster the release. Therefore the release of the protein from the polyanhydride microspheres was pH-sensitive due mainly to the dissolution of monomers from the microspheres.
Date of AwardMar 2003
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorYong F Wang (Supervisor)


  • biodegradable polyanhydrides
  • drug delivery
  • controlled release
  • microspheres
  • double emulsion
  • spray drying

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