Shang Lei, Singapore finalist

Shang Lei obtained his bachelor degree from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Upon graduation he joined the university’s PhD program offered by the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

His research interests are hydrogel-based drug delivery systems design, drug release rate control mechanisms, and microelectromechanical systems used for hydrogel delivery applications.

Drug release rate control principles of hydrogel-based drug delivery systems

Drug delivery systems are designed to deliver medicine to patients in an appropriate manner so as to enhance therapeutic efficacy and improve patients’ compliance. Hydrogel-based drug delivery systems have drawn great attention in recent years due to their excellent biocompatibility and intelligence (self-regulation of drug release behavior is similar to human organs, such as the pancreas).

The distinctive feature of such systems is that the delivery device can sense changes in the physiological environment and respond by switching on and off the device. However, precise control of drug release rates to better mimic physiological release pattern of certain hormones (such as insulin) remains a challenge.

One of the major consequences of poor release rate control is excessive ‘leakage’ of drug while the system is in the ‘off’ state, which leads to shortening of the device lifetime and potential overdose. In this lecture, I will cover basic concepts of drug delivery with a focus on hydrogel-based systems, followed by old and new drug release rate control principles.