Development of a novel deformable liposomal formulation for the dermal drug delivery of an anticancer agents

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The incidence of skin cancer is increasing and conventional treatments such as surgery are not suitable for all patients. This study aimed to develop an elastic liposomal gel to be applied directly to the tumour for the controlled release of anti-cancer agents to the dermal layer. The proposed anti-cancer flavonoids EGCG and naringenin as well as the novel potent cytotoxic agent MTL-004 were loaded into the bilayer of liposomes. Furthermore, aqueous gels HEC and HPMC were investigated as carriers for the liposomes to be applied topically.

Liposomes loaded with either Tween 80, Tween 20 or sodium cholate were found to have increased elastic properties, liposomes with an average size of 400 nm were able to pass through a pore size of 100 nm. Release studies from liposomes loaded with either EGCG, naringenin and MTL-004 as well as varying ratios of Tween 20 were carried out. Within 24 hours, EGCG liposomes loaded with 0% or 10% w/w Tween 20 gave a release of 13.7 ± 1.1 % and 94.4 ± 4.9 % respectively; naringenin liposomes loaded with 0% or 10% w/w Tween 20 gave a release of 109.7 ± 5.0 % and 48.5 ± 2.1 % respectively; MTL-004 liposomes loaded with 0% or 10% w/w Tween 20 gave a release of 59.8 ± 1.2 % and 74.0 ± 1.8 % respectively. This indicates a compounds individual physiochemical properties influences release of compound from liposomes.

EGCG, naringenin and MTL-004 loaded liposomes added into the aqueous gel HEC or HPMC gels may have had an additive effect in terms of retarding drug release. Release was faster from HEC gels and liposomes formulated with Tween 20.

In vitro cellular uptake of liposome uptake into HDFa and HaCat cells was apparent. Thus it appears elastic liposomes are useful in enhancing drug penetration into dermal cells and furthermore may be useful in the development of a controlled release formulation.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDeborah Lowry (Supervisor) & Yvonne Perrie (Supervisor)


  • skin cancer
  • deformable liposomes
  • dermal release
  • controlled release
  • elastic liposomes

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